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South Sudan: Population data essential for development planning says official

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October 27, 2010 (JUBA) The Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) can only play an effective advocacy role of engaging development partners when reliable data needed for planning purposes are available, Margaret Labanya Mathya, a Director General at Southern Sudan Center for Census, Statistics and Evaluation (SSCCSE) said this week .

Mathya made these remarks on Monday while opening a four-day workshop held in commemoration of this year’s World Population Day, under the theme, “Everyone Counts.”

According to SSCCSE Director General, economic planning by any government can only benefit citizens when data on the population are evidence-based, rather than assumed.

“How do you plan to build schools or hospitals if you don’t have information or data? It’s simply impossible,” she said.

Mathya also thanked United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for organising the workshop, in addition to providing the overall technical and financial assistance, which she said was essential in building the capacities of SSCCSE staff.

Kondwani Mwangulube, who heads UNFPA’s Southern Sudan office, underscored the importance of data for development, adding that reliable demographic data is critical for planning all development programmes, such as education and health systems.

“Over the year, experience has shown that planning development policies is always easier if population projections are present and if evidence-based,” he said.

South Sudan’s population, according to the 2008 Sudan 5th Population and Housing Census, was estimated at about 8.2m, with about 500,000 southerners living in the north of the country.

About 75 participants, drawn from government departments, state planning sector and other development agencies attended the workshop.

The main objective was to strengthen their capacity in analysing, disseminating and utilizing data.

(ST)

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