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Mali has launched its fourth Population and Housing Census. Data collection began on 1 April 2009 throughout the territory and should be completed no later than April 14 evening.

Government and technical and financial partners (UNFPA, Swedish, Canadian and Dutch cooperation agencies...) have made significant efforts to improve the demographic and social statistics and to use them effectively in the planning process. As recalled by Mr. Youssouf Maïga, the technical adviser on Statistics in the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce, the first Population and Housing Census was conducted in 1976, the second in 1987 and the third in 1998. Known as the General Census of Population and Housing (RGPH, the acronym in French), the operation will be conducted for the fourth time since 1976. It is entrusted to the National Directorate of Statistics and Informatics (DNSI) and more specifically to the Central Bureau of Census (BCR).

To ensure the success of the process, the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce and the DNSI have called on the departments, responsible for education and defense, for the mobilization of teachers and the military. The DNSI also receives assistance from the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) for the proper conduct of the operation. Thus, the Easter holidays have been shifted to enable teachers to participate fully in the operation. 24 707 agents were recruited, the majority of whom are teachers plus some officials and young unemployed graduates: 20 237 enumerators, 3 992 team leaders, 371 “arrondissement” controllers, 55 “circle” supervisors, 24 regional supervisors, and 28 national supervisors.

The operation will cost a total of 5.6 billion CFA francs of which the partners will provide 4.4 billion CFA francs.

The Census concerns the whole population, all Malians and foreigners who have been living in Mali during the last 6 months or are intending to reside for more than 6 months in accordance with the Principles and Recommendations of the United Nations.

The aim of the operation is to enable the Government and the partners to adapt their developmental policies to new circumstances in connection with the implementation of the Project for the Economic and Social Development (PDES), the Strategic Framework for Growth and poverty reduction (CSCRP), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the National Population Policy (PNP).

The Census provides an opportunity for elected officials to know the socio-demographic and economic characteristics of populations living in their districts and to identify urgent needs (drinking water, electricity, sewage, education, employment, health). The results of the 4 th Census will not be useful only to the elected officials, but they will also help economic operators conduct market research in order to provide services to the districts in need.

The 4 th Census is characterized by the traditional method for data collection - with direct door-to-door interview of the population. The enumeration is exhaustive - it has a policy of counting all persons resident or present in the country at a given moment, without omission or overlap.

The preparatory activities for the census, including mapping activities and training of personnel (enumerators, team leaders, controllers and supervisors) were finalized at the end of March. At the launching of the operation, the Minister stressed the importance of the production of maps and communal monographs. In the context of decentralization and regionalization, this activity is essential for evaluating policies and programmes implemented over the past decade. The development of a geographic information system (GIS), the preparation of thematic maps at the smallest geographical levels will also be produced at the end of the operation.

Field operations began on 28 March throughout the identification list of enumeration sections and the numbering of concessions inhabited and for residential use.

Awareness campaigns have started in recent weeks. The Central Bureau of Census requires the cooperation of all, and the Director of the National Directorate of Statistics and Informatics, Mr. Seydou Moussa Traoré, hosted Monday a press conference on the subject. The Regional Director of Planning and Statistics, Ms Elizabeth Camara Dembélé Djénéba called on the public for good cooperation with this operation.

For the first data collection day, the Minister of Economy in charge of Planning has “censed” the Head of Government who reminded citizens to pay the exercise the best possible way, since the operation is national in scope and interest.

In his few words to the press, Mr. Modibo Sidibe emphasized the fundamental nature of the census which provides information on the population and helps create a reliable database, not only on human resources but also on habitat. He stated that the census provides a report on the current situation of the country population and allows understanding the various hypotheses of evolution and planning required for different developmental policies.

The Population and Housing Census will collect demographic, economic, social and cultural data, but also data on housing units, maternal mortality, fertility and migration. More specifically, the information will allow having the distribution of population by sex and age at the smallest administrative level, household characteristics (family relationship, marital status), economic activities (Professional situation), the education, literacy, population movements and housing characteristics. The operation will determine the levels and trends of fertility, mortality and migration and natural increase and the overall population.

The results of the 4 th Census will be available in two years, but the DNSI plans to provide preliminary results on the volume of the population, distribution by sex, status of residence and by region within the next few months.


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