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Population et Développement en Afrique : Indicateurs essentiels (Comprendre les évolutions en cours)
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La révolution des données : l′Afrique doit s′en saisir pour accélérer son développement socioéconomique !


PODEV-IN, November 2017

A thinking on the 2017 SDG Index and Dashboards

The 2017 SDG Index and Dashboards issue highlight the following:

This year’s edition includes revised and additional metrics for the SDGs bringing the total to 99 indicators. We also introduce several refinements to the methodology and extend coverage from 149 to 157 of the 193 UN member states. Results are therefore not strictly comparable with the 2016 edition. We are grateful to the many organizations and individuals who have helped us improve the SDG Index and Dashboards.

The purpose of the SDG Index and Dashboards is to assist countries to identify priorities for action, in order to achieve the 17 SDGs. The indicators and dashboards should help countries to pinpoint key implementation challenges and the overall index permits an assessment of progress towards the goals and a comparison with peer countries.

We hope that the expanded set of metrics related to the SDGs, including spillovers and common goods, provides a richer and more accurate assessment of countries’ SDG_baseline. Since there are many data gaps, we also discuss how they can be closed.


Q: Why are some countries not included in the SDG Index and Dashboards?

A: A country is included in the SDG Index and Dashboards if it has data for at least 80% of the indicators. Some countries with a population of less than one million have sufficient data and are therefore included in the SDG Index. The fact that some countries lack sufficient data for inclusion in the SDG Index and Dashboards underscores the need for greater investments in statistical capacity building.

This goes in line with what PODEV-IN is trying to do: alert African countries to define by themselves their priorities from the numerous indicators according to their specific needs and capability. At least this will show that they really take into account their determination to achieve something, to improve their people’s life. Therefore, forgetting about the many ways of aggregating variables, more importantly, countries should make efforts to improve their crude data! This is one way to prove that African countries and experts (locally there are many of them) can have complete endeavor in the international agreements, especially the new World Development Agenda: the SDGs.

The quality and capacity of people involved in international report is not questionable. Yet, sometimes one may wander the method used for aggregating and forecasting indicators. For instance, in the report (http://www.sdgindex.org/assets/files/2017/2017-SDG-Index-and-Dashboards-Report--full.pdf), in page 44 (Equation 2), page 45 (equations 5,6 and 7) and page 46 (equation 8) formulas are mathematically questionable. Looking at them:

Iij here is a function of  while  appears nowhere in the right hand equation. Also, Iijk is fixed in the left hand equation and varies (with respect to k) in the right hand one! The same thing comes in equation 5, 6, 7 and 8.

In all these equations, you have fixed indexes at the left hand that vary in the right hand equations? How should a researcher understand and apply this? The handling of missing values is another point of concern!

Good primary raw data are then fundamental to monitor the progress in SGDs in Africa, and sophisticated calculation of indexes cannot be put ahead. Sometimes, lake of good data is due to absence of alert during regular data collection time. For instance, in the ongoing General  Census of Agriculture and Livestock (GCAL) of Cameroon, reference is done on the MDGs and SDGs but, nothing is said about the indicators, especially those of Goal 2 related to hunger and rural world, yet it is a very big project covering the whole rural world! Something should have been done to indicate which indicators this census will address without adding new variables, but may be only reformatting others. Countries are not yet then aware of the great challenge of achieving the SDGs, locally measuring the process with sound chosen indicators and something should be done about it.

African countries, wakeup, it is still time to find your way through the huge world engagements in SDGs!

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