Gambia: Government Launches Gaminfo Database

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The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) launched the GAMINFO Database Tool in Banjul last week. GAMINFO is a Human Development (HD) Monitoring tool that is developed by the Statistics Bureau, through funding from the United Nations (UN) System in the Gambia, to create a database that represents all sectors.

Delivering the launching statement, on behalf of the Vice President, Laimin Nyabally, the Permanent Secretary -Office of the Vice President, said the GAMINFO is a national database which presents an accurate and reliable data for evidence-based decision making as well as programme planning, monitoring and evaluation. The Vice President noted that the significance of this venture cannot be over-emphasized given the serious data paucity the country is experiencing warranting the conduct of a demographic and health survey.

"We need to invest seriously in enhancing capacities in data collection, analysis and dissemination as an important pre-requisite for effectively measuring progress in the attainment of our development Blueprints among others," stated the Vice President.

She said the data base system used by GAMINFO has been endorsed by the UN Development Group to assist countries monitor progress in development, particularly the MDGs.

The Vice President noted that a major challenge faced by the country over the years has been the availability of uniform data sets for national indicators for monitoring of both national and international targets thy set themselves to meet. She added that notwithstanding the efforts put into the harmonization of national indicators, the absence of a national database for the presentation of these indicators has often led to conflicting data values for the same indicators. It was on this basis, said the Vice President, that the UN system notably UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF conceived of the idea of working with Govrnment to develop a national database that will be centrally locate and include indicators required for monitoring national programmes and policies, particularly the MDGs and PRSP/PAGE.

She implored the major stakeholders to ensure that GAMINFO is kept alive by making sure that quality statistics is provided regularly and on time.

For his part, Mr. Alieu S.M. Ndow, the Statistician General, GBoS, said the main aim of this tool is to create a common national database that represents all sectors. This, he said, will enable easy accessibility of data and knowledge on key development indicators for effective and efficient planning and monitoring. Ndow said GAMINFO has also been organised to address national priorities such as the PRSP II and the Vision 2020.

He urged all statistics producers to make available all necessary data that are being collected within there sectors in order to ensure that GAMINFO is sustained and continue to be relevant to the development needs of the country. He thanked all collaborating agencies, users and producers including the WHO have contributed in making GAMINFO a reality.

Speaking on behalf of the UN system, Malcolm Duthie underscored the importance of a database to the human development. He disclosed that one hundred and thirty eight (138) countries have already developed data base statistics that would help their sectors to have good and reliable data. He said the UN system will continue to contribute its quota in this valuable development and process.