2021 PHC: Invest heavily in youth, says Government Statistician

Government Statistician presenting the 2021 census data to President Akufo-Addo
The government statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, has said the 2021 Population and Housing Census shows that there is an urgent need for the country to take interest in investing heavily in its youth and to initiate conversation around the settlement of her population.

Presenting the preliminary report on the 2021 PHC to President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House on Wednesday (27 October), Prof Annim noted that there are four major findings of census that should immediately engage the attention of the government.

Four key areas
“The first point has to do with engagement with the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development for them to start having conversations around what informs the settlement of population”.

The three key things that we should have a conversation on as a country are the procedures, the conditions and the enforcement that informs that (settlement of population),” Prof Annim said.

“The second thing that we want to take away is that the a-set distribution point to a pyramid which show that our population remains useful but the threat in there is that the share of the youth is declining so we need to take advantage of the returns of the demographic dividend and invest more in the youth”

According to Professor Annim, the third area is “preprimary education”. “While we give a lot of commendation to the Free SHS complimenting basic education, there is a lot of deprivation and underserved population at the preprimary level.

“Following our ratification of the free and compulsory universal basic education, we need to begin to focus on the kindergarten, three to four-year-olds and we realize that this is very stake in terms of the deprivation in quite a number of areas,” he said.

The last area that need attention by virtue of the findings of the PHC are crowding and disparities when it comes to social services.

“We do acknowledge the huge investments in the different interventions that are being made and here, we make reference to Agenda 111, which came up in August 2021”.

“But what we are calling for now is in as much as these interventions are welcomed, we always need to be guided by two things; are they addressing the crowding that we are seeing in places like Greater Accra, and more importantly, are they addressing the disparities that we see in especially, the newly created regions” Professor Annim said.



President’s take
President Akufo-Addo welcomed the PHC data describing it as “important data for public policy”. He noted that the finding that the Ghanaian population has increased fivefold since independence is “quite significant”.

“We are very grateful to you, your staff and your team for the work that has been done. This work was due for last year but because of obvious reasons of the COVID intervention, it couldn’t be done”.

“But the methodical and efficient manner with which you have gone about it is something that has catch the attention of the nation”” Akufo-Addo said.

“We have heard the steps that you are going to take and the recommendations you are making as to the immediate governmental action. We are going to look at it very closely, especially, the steps that we are supposed to take and we will get back to you as quickly as possible” the President added.

Target of 2021 census
It was the target of those who spearheaded the 2021 Population and Housing Census (Ministry of Finance, Ghana Statistical Service, Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Information) that the data they gather after the PHC will be used to influence decision making in twelve (12) thematic areas.

The areas are; Decision Making and Policy; Development; Housing; Geography; Water and Sanitation; Utilities and Energy; Businesses; Education; Demography; ICT; Health and Well-being; Labour Force and Socio-Economy.

Ghana’s census history
Ghana has been conducting decennial censuses since 1891. The first census in the Gold Coast was conducted under the British colonial administration. Subsequently, censuses were conducted every 10 years except for 1941, where World War 2 prevented the conduct of a census.

The last census before independence took place in 1948. The first census conducted in Ghana after independence was in 1960. There have been five (5) post-independence censuses conducted in Ghana.

The last two censuses (2000 and 2010) have been Population and Housing Censuses making the 2021 PHC the third to be conducted in Ghana.

The 2021 PHC
The conduct of the Ghana 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) was to provide updated demographic, social and economic data to support national development activities and track the implementation of global and continental development goals including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), International Conference on Population and Development Goals, and Africa’s Agenda 2063.

The 2021 PHC was to produce data on who we are, how many we are, as well as where and how we live.

The data is expected to be used by government, private sector, businesses, civil society organizations, development partners, special interest groups, academia, media, households, and other stakeholders to conduct research and generate information for general use and to inform specific policies and their implementation.

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