ADDIS ABABA, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Approximately 53 African ministers responsible for civil registration will convene at the United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on August 13-14 to address the need to improve civil status information and vital statistics data in Africa, a statement from United Nations Economic Commission (UNECA) for Africa said on Tuesday.
According to the organizers, the high-level ministerial conference theme, "Towards improving civil status information for efficient public administration and generation of vital statistics for national development and MDGs Monitoring in Africa" has been chosen with a view to reverse the deplorable state of civil status information in Africa.
"Most people in Africa are born and die without leaving a trace on any legal record or official statistics making it difficult for the public sector to manage and monitor its human capital," said Dimitri Sanga, Officer-in-Charge of the African Centre for Statistics at ECA.
Despite efforts to improve efficiency in issuing national identification systems and passports, as well as services such as health and education, African governments remain challenged by the inadequate nature of such vital data as birth, death, marriage and divorce.
"Incomplete vital statistics negatively affect development endeavors and make it difficult to measure and monitor development initiatives, including the Millennium Development Goals," added Sanga.
The Conference will be co-hosted by ECA, the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the Government of Ethiopia. In addition, a preparatory Expert Group Meeting will be convened on 10-12 August, to draft a resolution and make recommendations for discussion, input and endorsement by the ministers during the conference.
It is expected that the deliberations will lead to the creation of a high-level regional platform for exchanging information on civil registration and vital statistics; create enhanced awareness and commitment of African governments in the development of these systems and endorse resolutions and recommendations that would lead and govern African civil registration and vital statistics systems for the coming years.