Cape Verde and Senegal are going to expand their electronic data collection

Electronic censuses have been transforming the reality of the official institutes performing demographic surveys in Cape Verde and Senegal. These two African countries have been utilizing Brazilian expertise to implement electronic data collection.

The results from discussions promoted among these three countries have resulted in the creation of Centers of Reference Collection of Eletronic Data . The idea is to develop methodologies in these centers that can help other African countries improve the updating of their census surveys based on the positive experiences achieved in Cape Verde and Senegal.

The centers are made up by official statistics institutes from the three countries: the Brazilian Institute of Geographic and Statistics (IBGE), the Cape Verde National Statistics Institute (INE-CV) and the Senegal National Agency of Statistics and Demography (ANSD).

Cape Verde is the first African country to carry out a digitized census-Photo: Licia Rubinstein/Agência IBGE News
Cape Verde is the first African country to carry out a digitized census-Photo: Licia Rubinstein/Agência IBGE News

After years of partnering, Cape Verde and Senegal wish to expand the activities of their reference centers. During a meeting at the IBGE headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, representatives from both countries could discuss new strategies for impelling digital censuses in Africa with the Brazilian technicians.

Susana Cordeiro Guerra, the president of IBGE, expects that this movement can strengthen South-South Cooperation and reinforce the importance of maintaining open discussion to make progress on common points of interest. “These meetings have been greatly effective for IBGE and our partnering countries,” she believes.

Celso Herminio Soares Ribeiro, the vice president of INE-CV, said the discussions between Brazil and Senegal provided greater autonomy for performing the work of the institute. “We were able to prepare a team staffed by people from our institute thanks to the experiences shared during the training phases,” confirms Ribeiro. “We updated the census again in 2013 by collecting data and achieved better results than previous censuses. Also, the data availability improved,” tells Mamadou Niang, the director of ANSD.

Brazil as an international reference

President of IBGE, Susana Cordeiro Guerra
President of IBGE, Susana Cordeiro Guerra, Photo: Licia Rubinstein/Agência IBGE News

IBGE has broad-based experience in censuses, having performed successive surveys since the 1940s. The repeated census survey on Population and Habitation carried out in 2010 was the first in the world to have all steps wholly performed in a digital interface, thereby making the country become an international reference in this field.

IBGE participated in the cooperative initiatives in diverse countries in Africa and South America, such as São Tomé and Príncipe, the Ivory Coast, Paraguay, and Uruguay.  

Cape Verde and Senegal are among the countries that Brazil cooperated to perform the successful electronic data collection in their latest repeated census surveys.

Cape Verde pioneering spirit

The country has been using traditional on-paper methods for updating its population questionnaire census since 1940. Then Cape Verde started to use mobile device technology for collecting census data in 2010, as a result of the technical cooperation between IBGE and INE-CV. Experience sharing and the acquired knowledge made it possible to successfully perform the first updated census survey in Africa and integrate geographical and alphanumerical information while collecting data. After that unique event, INE-CV had the opportunity to continue that innovation and electronically collect data from other statistical projects. Besides that, it offered support to ANSD in performing their digital census in 2013.

Senegal was the second African country to carry out the electronic collection-Photo: Licia Rubinstein/Agência IBGE News
Senegal was the second African country to carry out the electronic collection-Photo: Licia Rubinstein/Agência IBGE News

Senegal inspires other countries

The General Census on Population and Habitation, Agriculture and Livestock utilized electronic data collection in 2013 thanks to the combined help from Brazil and Cape Verde. Delegations visited Senegal from some other African countries interested in the methodology used in the country. Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania, and Gabon were some of the countries interested in the Senegalese experience. ANSD also went on missions to some of these countries to follow-up their technical teams advising the preparation for updating the censuses.

Awarded initiative

The Census Reference Centers employing Electronic Data Collection are among the five best actions of the South-South cooperation, in the contest on good practices held by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). Senegal and Cape Verde were pioneers in utilizing this technology, and through this; they could expand that experience to other African countries.