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The challenges of demographic data in Sub-Saharan Africa 
in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

31 May 2016 from 9:00 to 17:00

 Download the Agenda (pdf)

In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) succeeded to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In order to monitor progress towards SDG targets, a specific attention is given to improve the quality, availability and access to data and statistics disaggregated by various characteristics: income, gender, age, geographic location... Urgent steps should be taken to ensure that no one is left behind. This is why the post-2015 agenda is closely linked to the “Data Revolution”, an international initiative that aims to improve the quality of statistics as well as information available to citizens.


Despite important progress achieved during the first fifteen years of the new millennium, efforts need to be maintained and Sub-Saharan Africa must receive special attention because it has lagged behind on achieving several MDG targets. In addition, the evidence based on population dynamics in Africa remains limited. There is a dramatic deficit of classical demographic data at the national level which has been referred to as a “scandal of invisibility”. Very few African countries have a comprehensive system of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS). There are major issues with national statistical systems in their ability to provide reliable and high-quality population data, and this translates into large uncertainties around demographic levels and trends. To address these critical gaps, the collection of data supported by development partners and academic groups has multiplied since the 1980s. In particular, large retrospective sample surveys have been conducted, including as the Demographic and Health surveys (DHS). Another prominent data source on population trends in Africa are Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS).


The purpose of this scientific seminar is to give an overview of the different challenges related to demographic data in Sub-Saharan Africa in the framework of the SDGs and identify levers to overcome these constraints.