Innovative Ghana Statistical Service StatsBank Launched at UG

An Innovative StatsBank platform for Ghana has been launched at the University of Ghana on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, to mark the beginning of data accessibility and utilisation in the country.

This launch positions Ghana as the pioneering African nation to unveil a comprehensive, locally hosted tool enriched with census data, elevating the nation's data management capabilities.

Held at the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) Conference Centre at the University of Ghana, the launch event was graced by dignitaries including Vice-Chancellor Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim, a Government Statistician, Ghana, and Ms. Vibeke Sandholm Pedersen, Deputy Head of Mission, Head of Cooperation, from the Embassy of Denmark as well as Prof. Ayaga Bawah, Director of the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) among others.

In her remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, expressed pride in the University's role in societal development initiatives and emphasised the University's commitment to fostering stakeholder confidence and building students' capabilities as critical thinkers, technologically adept individuals, and future leaders.

She acknowledged the collaborative efforts of the Office of Research, Innovation, and Development (ORID), the School of Graduate Studies, the Regional Institute for Population Studies and the Public Affairs Directorate in partnering with the Ghana Statistical Service to bring the online census database to fruition and extended special gratitude to the Pro-VC of ORID, the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies as well as the Embassy of Denmark, for their unwavering support.

Highlighting the University's commitment to promoting innovation, Prof. Amfo pointed to the utilisation of Innovation Hubs facilitated by the Office of Research, Innovation, and Development. She underscored the importance of such initiatives in nurturing students' talents, fostering career growth, and providing experiential learning opportunities.

“The successful launch of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) StatsBank at the University of Ghana today vividly reflects Ghana’s resolve to launch and sustain digitalisation initiatives across several sectors of its economy to make services easily accessible to the Ghanaian populace,” the Vice-Chancellor further stated.

Meanwhile, Prof. Amfo congratulated participants of the hackathon and expressed hope that Team UG will excel at the National StatsBank Hackathon, expected to take place in October 2023.

Giving an overview of the Data User-Centered Products, Government Statistician Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim noted that the Ghana Statistical Service is currently coordinating activities in the national statistical system and expressed gratitude to the University of Ghana for prioritising the event.

Prof. Annim expressed interest in the University's micro-data dissemination policy, with the aim of signing an MOU for better coordination across Departments and Colleges. He emphasised the need for the University's data to complement and validate GSS's work. He also acknowledged the University's diverse contributions and revealed plans to make GSS a quasi-academic institution.

In an address on behalf of the key partner, the Embassy of Denmark, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation, Ms. Vibeke Sandholm Pedersen, emphasised that statistical data becomes valuable only when it is accessible and utilised effectively.

The StatsBank, she said, “provides this data to a wide range of users, from politicians and policymakers to students and the general public.”

Ms. Pedersen shared her pride in the collaboration and revealed that institutions in Denmark cooperating with Ghana have begun utilising the StatsBank to access valuable statistical information, signaling its practical importance and relevance. She encouraged students to engage with the statistical data available through StatsBank. She invited them to analyse the information, uncover stories, and offer fresh perspectives on Ghana's socio-economic landscape.

Earlier, Prof. Ayaga A. Bawah, Director of the Regional Institute for Population Studies at the University of Ghana, welcomed attendees and emphasised the dual objectives of the launch event; first, to raise awareness within the University community about the availability of census data in the StatsBank and second, to foster strong collaborations between Ghana Statistical Service, academic institutions, strategic institutions, industries, the public sector, civil society, and development partners.

During the launch, Mr. Simon Tichutab Onilimor, Mr. Selaseh Akaho, and Ms. Edem Titsriku, Data Scientists from the Statistical Service, demonstrated to attendees how the StatsBank system can be navigated. This was followed by a question-and-answer session.

As part of the event, an exhibition was held by Dr. Donatus Yaw Atiglo and Ms. Sylvia E. Amexo, RIPS, Mr. Michael Beckoe, and Ms. Jennifer Gyamesi, GSS.

The StatsBank is an online data repository designed to empower users to harness the vast reservoir of data collected through national censuses and surveys by the Ghana Statistical Service.

Boasting an impressive collection of over 350 million statistics, including pivotal indicators sourced from the 2021 Population and Housing Census, the platform enables users to generate tailored tables and maps.

Designed to cater for both national and regional levels of data, the platform sets itself apart with its cost-free accessibility and user-friendly interface, fostering ease of use for diverse stakeholders.

The StatsBank is geared towards empowering researchers, policymakers, and professionals and also to ensure that data-driven decision-making becomes more inclusive and widespread across the nation.

The official launch ceremony also doubled as a platform to honour the UG 2023 StatsBank Hackathon Competition winners. The overall winner, Team Beta, was awarded a cash prize of GH¢5,000.00, with the first runner-up team, Data Genius, and the second runner-up team, Bro Code, winning GH¢2,000.00 and GH¢1,000.00, respectively.

The winners were selected from those who participated in the UG StatsBank Hackathon. The hackathon provided a platform for young students to showcase their talents in utilising data to create innovative solutions.

Also present at the ceremony were Prof. Felix A. Ankomah, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, ORID; Dr. Grace Bediako, Board Chair, GSS; Prof. Daniel Frimpong Ofori, Provost, College of Humanities; Prof. Robert Darko Osei, Dean, School of Graduate Studies; Prof. Elsie Effah Kaufmann, Dean, School of Engineering Sciences; Dr. Elizier T. Ameyaw-Buronyah, Director of Public Affairs; Dr. Pearl Kyei, RIPS, UG; Prof. Benjamin D. Dovie, RIPS, UG; Dr. Faustina Frempong-Ainguah, GSS; Ms. Judy Puplampu, PhD student, RIPS; Dr. Mumuni Abu, RIPS; other Deans and Directors of the University, some students from Pre-Sec and students from the University.