By: Kebba Ansu Manneh
The Statistician-General of Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS), Nyakassi Sanyang, has reliably confirmed that The Gambia cannot conduct the 2023 Population and Housing Census and, therefore, deferred the exercise till April 2024.
This latest postponement of the decennial Census in The Gambia preceded two adjournments in the same year – the first was in April, which was postponed to November 2023 due to lack of funding, and now to April 2024.
Sanyang disclosed this in an exclusive interview with TAT, saying the postponement is necessitated by the late disbursement of funds and the logistics challenges in the wake of school resumption as they rely heavily on schools to conduct training for their data collectors and other field workers.
“It was in November that we wanted to conduct the Census as we indicated in our last press release, but we realized that it is not ideal in terms of conducting the activity. One reason why we couldn’t do it is that we rely on schools for our training. The schools are just resuming, and we cannot get the classrooms to do the training,” GBoS Statistician General explained.
He added: “Another reason is that this time around, we are doing the whole exercise digitally, which means every activity we will do will be based on technology using handset devices. At the moment, we have a consultant who is helping us to train our guys on how to use Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI), as well as integrating all our works into the digital platform, but this CAPI System is not ready yet.”
The Statistician-General further disclosed that because the GBoS has not completed and used its designed CAPI system, it is practically impossible to roll out a pilot run for this year’s Census, noting that piloting the CAPI System is an integral part of the whole exercise as it will help the Bureau to identify and address the possible loopholes ahead of Census proper.
“The disbursement for the 2023 Census was secured last April, making it difficult to successfully conduct the exercise because, in normal circumstances, there should be a pre-census exercise conducted two years before the Census proper. So, due to late disbursement of funds, the Bureau has no option but to defer the Census till 2024,” Mr. Sanyang revealed while justifying the postponement.
When asked about the public opinion that the 2023 Consus failed because the World Bank funding was delayed due to the Gambia Government’s failure to fulfill its funding quota, Sanyang flatly denied the claim, arguing that both the World Bank and the Gambia Government are financially committed and supportive of the conduct of the exercise.
Population and housing census is conducted in The Gambia once every ten years. The last Census was held in April 2013. Still, the GBoS says it cannot roll out the 2023 Census, which was initially due in April, mainly due to late disbursement of funds.