A South African don, Prof. Maseka Lesaona, has commended Nigeria for training its statisticians on the latest statistical tools for data analysis and production.
Maseka, a lecturer of Statistics at the University of Limpopo, South Africa, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
The don spoke on the sideline of a three-day International Statistical Conference organised by the Nigerian Statistical Association.
She confirmed that Nigeria had one of the best crops of highly respected statisticians in the world.
“Nigeria has been doing a lot in terms of training its statisticians and they are respected in the world.
“Just to give you an example, there are many Nigerians who are Statisticians in South Africa and even Botswana and other part of the world.
“I am with two of them from Botswana in this conference so as far as training is concerned, Nigeria is a head of South Africa.
“ We need more experts in our country; we need to mobilise statisticians and South Africa can be able to get them from countries like Nigeria,’’ she said.
The don, however, advised the Federal Government to allocate more funding for statistical activities in the country.
She said that the South Africa Statistical System had made great stride as far of collecting data since 1994 with the support of the government.
“What I like about it is that South Africa has been mobilising other African countries, sharing with them how they can collect the data.
“ From there, I hope Nigeria can learn from it but what is important is government’s support.
“The South Africa Government realises the importance of data and support it very well; we are proud with the work done to compare the performance of our economy in Africa with data.
“ I think there is a lot of lessons Nigeria can learn from the South Africa as it has done in terms of using Information Communication Technology (ICT) for data gathering and processing.’’
In addition, she said that South Africa was ahead of Nigeria in data revolution, sharing and handing of big volume of data.
The don said that the good news was that the first UN Data Revolution conference was hosted by South Africa and it invited all countries, including Nigeria.
“I think South Africa is a bit ahead, it started with big data and data revolution; I think Nigeria and every other African country will not lack behind.
“I think why most Africa countries in spite of the expertise are lacking behind in this regard is that they have not received adequate support from their government.
“South Africa bureau of statistics got the support since the country got independence,’’ she said.
According to her, the country’s statistical agency has been conducting population census every 10 years in line with UN recommendation and other surveys.
UN recommends a census enumeration at least once every 10 years, and once every 5 for even better data, rather than simply relying on estimates and projections alone. (NAN)