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Next year’s census is crucial for policy direction

2022-11-04  Maihapa Ndjavera

Next year’s census is crucial for policy direction

Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi last month stated in his mid-term budget review in the National Assembly that an allocation has been made for the national census to be undertaken in FY2023/24. 

“We recognise the importance of timely statistics in facilitating evidence-based planning and policymaking. As such, with the forecasted recovery in revenues, we will make resources available for this important national
assignment,” he added.

The National Population and Housing Census, conducted every decade, was initially delayed due to budgetary constraints and the impact of Covid-19.

Launching the 2019-2021 census mapping basic report yesterday, National Statistics
Agency (NSA) board chairperson Salomo Hei said the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic had severe consequences. He noted that it specifically contributed to competing funding priorities, especially as it relates to the census. 

“The availability of timely and quality data impacts the effectiveness with which developmental goals are implemented. The population and housing censuses are an important source for supplying disaggregated data needed for the measurement of the progress for the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda,” noted Hei.

Namibia as a member state of the United Nations (UN) recognised the importance of the Population and Housing Census (PHC) for national planning and evidence-based decision-making, and has tasked the NSA to conduct a PHC every 10 years. 

Namibia will, through the NSA, conduct its fourth Population and Housing Census fully in a spatially-enabled (or GIS-enabled) manner as a way to highly disaggregate census statistics. This means that each structure in the country will be linked to its geography and basic statistical information. “It is commendable that the report launched today will provide some preliminary indicators that will contribute to the evaluation of the different plans that the country has put in place as we await the main census in 2023,” he added. Thus far, the census mapped 965 265 structures throughout the country. According to the report, a total of 529 734 structures were situated in urban areas, while 435 474 were located in rural areas. In terms of regional distribution, the Khomas region recorded the highest number of structures (140 193 structures), followed by the Oshana region with 108 996 structures. The least number of structures (28 451) were mapped in the Kavango West region.

It further indicated that there were 507 249 dwelling units in Namibia, of which 36.6% were detached houses, while a significant proportion of about 25% were improvised housing units.

“About 53% of households in Namibia use firewood as the main source of energy for cooking, and only 31% of the households use electricity,” the report continued.

2022-11-04  Maihapa Ndjavera

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