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Sierra Leone
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“Sierra Leone population is now over 7m”

...Statistician-General

April 1, 2016 By Regina Pratt

Statistics Sierra Leone yesterday released the provisional census result for the 2015 Population and Housing Census, which revealed that the population of Sierra Leone has increased from 4 million in 2004 to 7,075,641, with 49.1% men and 50.9% women.

The result, which was launched at Miatta Conference Hall by President Ernest Bai Koroma, was compiled with technical support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other UN agencies.

Giving a background to the process, Statistician General Mohamed King Koroma said the overall goal of the 2015 Population and Housing Census was to contribute to the improvement of quality life of the people of Sierra Leone through the provision of relevant, reliable and timely data and information for development planning.

“The Population and Housing Census was also designed to deepen democracy by providing data, which the National Electoral Commission would use to demarcate constituencies and wards, as well as allocate representation of governing bodies,” he said.

He also informed the gathering that the census had three distinct phases – preparatory phase, enumeration phase and the post enumeration phase – adding that some 16,000 field staff were trained for the second phase – the enumeration phase.

The Statistician General further disclosed that the northern region has the highest population with a total of 2,502,805, followed by the east with a population of 1,641,012, south 1,438,572, while the Western Area has 1,293,252 people.

Officer-in-charge of UNFPA, Dr. Sennen Hounton, thanked the president and people of Sierra Leone for the successful conduct of the 2015 Housing and Population Census.

He said census was a long process that took several years to complete as a number of preparatory activities, including the mapping exercise from May 2013 to July 2015, pilot census in May 2014, and the two data user conferences held in March 2014 and July 2015.

“UNFPA as the specialised UN agency with their mandate to provide technical assistance to countries for censuses and related demographic surveys, has been working closely with SSL [Statistic Sierra Leone] and other partners, notably DFID, Irish Aid, UNDP and others to ensure a very credible and acceptable census,” he said.

He said the release of the provisional result was a great milestone, adding that “I have been assured by Statistics Sierra Leone and UNFPA technical team that the post enumeration activities are on track.”

He said his predecessor told him that despite the difficult situation faced by the country during the Ebola outbreak, government made a commitment to conduct the census as a critical development investment, with over 70% of the total census budget.

“We at UNFPA would like to publicly acknowledge this and we have already been telling other countries. If Sierra Leones can do it during Ebola, there is no excuse for any other country not to make such an investment,” he said.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Foday Sawi, who read the statement on behalf of the substantive minister, said the budget of the census, spanning from 2013 to 2015, was Le74.9billion, and that the government provided Le52.5 billion for the process.

He said the provisional result prepare their minds for the final result, adding that every country needs information for planning, so as to improve the quality of lives of its people.

While launching the result, President Koroma said census is a process not only for figures but also for the dissemination of the final results, adding that the 2015 Population and Housing Census was one of the most comprehensive data collection exercises in the country.

“It is designed to support evidence based decision at sectoral and national levels. It is a painstaking process and it required enough resources for the exercise,” he said and added that the challenges did not undermine the outcome of the process.

He said international observers and donors had rated the 2015 Population and Housing census as unique, as it was useful to get credible figures to guide democracy.

“As a Government we wholeheartedly accept the provisional results. The process was not for any political parties but for Sierra Leoneans,” he said, and urged Statistics Sierra Leone to maintain standards so that there would be no gaps in the final results.

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