Mr. Paul Cheung honoured with the 'African Statistics Award'

Mr. Paul Cheung, Director of the Statistics Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), was honoured with the 'African Statistics Award' by the African Statistics Fraternity under the leadership of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in a ceremony held at the opening of the Second Meeting of the Statistical Commission for Africa (StatCom-Africa), a subsidiary body of ECA, on 18 January 2010 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mr. Cheung was recognized for his contributions to the advancement of the global statistical system, and in particular, for his committed and relentless effort towards statistical development in Africa.

Mr. Cheung has made statistical development in Africa one of his pre-occupations in DESA.   In this connection, he played a critical role in the revival of the statistics function at ECA and in helping to secure additional resources for the newly created African Center for Statistics (ACS) in ECA. Moreover, he ensured that more African statisticians than ever before are able to attend the UN Statistical Commission meetings and other international meetings where international statistical standards, systems and methodologies are set and adopted. The following data demonstrate the tangible effect Mr. Cheung had: The number of African countries participating in the UN Statistical Commission meeting in 2000 and 2001 was a paltry 7. It rose to 9 in both 2002 and 2003. In 2004 the year Prof. Cheung joined DESA the number of African countries participating in the meeting was 11. In 2005, this number increased to 17 and to 19 in 2006, 32 in 2007, 33 in 2008 and 33 in 2009. In 2010, 36 countries are expected to attend the 41st session to be held in February.

 Mr. Cheung also worked diligently towards building greater statistical capacity in Africa in almost all areas of statistics and statistical production through training workshops, seminars, etc. Under his leadership, DESA’s Statistics Division has implemented over 50 workshops and seminars in collaboration with the ACS, since mid-2004, providing training to hundreds of African statisticians. He was also instrumental in starting the Africa Symposium on Statistical Development (ASSD) and has been at the forefront of efforts to get all African countries to participate in the 2010 World Population and Housing Census Programme. In the 2000 programme, only 37 countries conducted their decennial census. Now indications are that all African countries except Somalia will undertake their census during the current round of censuses.

The activities of UN DESA’s Statistics Division on the African continent are an integral part of the Division’s overall mission, which is to strengthen national statistical capacity of all member states, especially among the developing countries, and to further the global statistical system.  The tangible results are to have high quality, internationally comparable statistics readily available, in print or via internet, to users around the world.

Prof. Paul Cheung, UNSD Director
Click selected photos to enlarge

Dimitri Sanga (ECA), Professor Cheung (UNSD), Pali Lehohla (Statistics South Africa)