Source: UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 17 October 2017 (ECA) – The task force meeting on the establishment of the Committee of African Registrars General opened here Tuesday with Zimbabwe’s Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede, saying the meeting is crucial and would help enhance and facilitate the visibility of vital civil registration systems in Africa.
Mr. Mudede said although resolutions have been taken in the past by the Conference of Ministers responsible for Civil Registration, many have not been pursued due to lack of funds or unclear reasons raising the need for Africa’s Registrars General to form an association to take to another level the agenda of vital civil registration.
“A lot of these and other resolutions have not been addressed. These resolutions are critical to the advancement of vital civil registration. However, it appears no one is talking about them anymore. Maybe they are meant to be forgotten and gather dust on the shelf. Since these are resolutions of our ministers they need to be taken up with the same resolute,” he said.
“We know our sector very well. It should be the responsibility of the association to play an advisory role and to follow up on all outstanding resolutions.”
He said the association should provide expect guidance to member States and monitor developments in member countries and be a facilitator where necessary to improve vital civil registration.
“Other professions have their associations to champion their visions. Lawyers have law societies. Engineers have theirs too, so do accountants, medical doctors, pilots, farmers, teachers and the list is endless. This is the time to have our own Registrar General’s association. It will also take care of the education, welfare and on the job training of its members. It is for our good. It is for the good of vital civil registration,” Mr. Mudede to told Africa’s Registrars General.
The ECA’s African Centre for Statistics is the secretariat of the Africa Programme for Accelerated Improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics initiative which is co-organized the meeting with hosts Zimbabwe.
“We are gathered here at a historic place for a historic moment. We are here to enhance or facilitate the visibility of vital civil registration systems in Africa,” said Mr. Mudede, adding the problem of population data in Africa as a whole was not well documented.
“It is either absent or if it is available is scantly inadequate. Therefore, decisions to address the sustainable development goals and other national issues which are dependent on population data become compromised,” he added.
Mr. Mudede said currently the issue of vital civil registration is being championed by those in statistics on the continent but was still lagging behind.
“They are doing it for a noble cause. It is a statistical cause. Their concern is the collection of accurate population data for national planning. Our concern as Registrars is the establishment of impeccable all embracive vital civil registration systems to enable an easy route for those in statistics to collect that data. Hence our effort is on having everyone registered,” he said.
“We need to complement those in statistics. We cannot be a laughing stock. Sadly, since 2010 to date there is a gap in establishing a body of Heads of Vital Civil Registration Institutions to complement efforts being made to ensure that the agenda being advanced is the correct one.”
Victoria Falls Mayor, Sifiso Mpofu, said the meeting came at a time Zimbabwe’s currently conducting a three-month national outreach mobile registration exercise to issue vital civil registration documents.
“This is always a welcome gesture particularly for those communities living in distant places from registration offices. The Registrar General’s office is going out to the people instead of the people going to the registration offices,” said Mr. Mpofu.