Ethiopia postpones national population census due to security challenges

ADDIS ABABA, April 30 (Xinhua) — The joint session of the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives and House of Federation on Monday postponed the Fourth National Population and Housing Census by a margin of one year period due to unrests.

The National Population and Housing Census, which was scheduled to take place during the current 2017-2018 Ethiopian fiscal year, was postponed to 2018-2019 Ethiopian fiscal year, due to security challenges that affected parts of the Eats African country.

The postponement of national census came weeks after the decision by the Ethiopian House of Peoples and Representatives, Ethiopian parliament’s lower house, to postponed local elections for a similar period due to security related challenges that, in some occasions, led citizens to forced displacement.

Yalew Abate, speaker of the Ethiopian House of Federation, while briefing the joint session on Monday, stressed that challenges attributed to recent unrests in parts of the country have affected the country’s preparation in various ways.

He further stressed that the postponement of the census “would help to obtain reliable and quality data regarding Ethiopia’s current states of affairs.”

The Ethiopian Central Statistics Agency (CSA), which undertakes the census, has recently disclosed that close to 180,000 tablets have been purchased from Chinese technology giants, Huawei and Lenovo, to conduct the census.

The CSA further revealed that the products had been tested and approved by the agency, in which Ethiopia will, for the first time, apply a modern population and housing census procedure, which includes the use of mobile tablets for data collection.

Biratu Yigezu, Director General of CSA, told Xinhua recently that the products were purchased as part of the 3.5 billion Ethiopian birr (128 million U.S. dollars) total budget that was secured for the census.

The two companies have provided 90,000 mobile tablets each as per the agreement made between the two Chinese companies and the Ethiopian Public Procurement and Property Disposal Services.

Experts at the CSA also told Xinhua that the use of mobile tablet technologies in the data collection procedure will ease the census process by establishing effective data registration system so as to avoid duplication and double counting.

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