Home Education Keynote Address By Dr. Teakon J. Williams At The Graduation Of 45 Students From The Institute Of Population Studies (IPS) – 2021-2023 At The University Of Liberia

Keynote Address By Dr. Teakon J. Williams At The Graduation Of 45 Students From The Institute Of Population Studies (IPS) – 2021-2023 At The University Of Liberia

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Mr. President of the University of Liberia, Dr. Julius Sawolo Nelson
Platform Guests

Ladies And Gentlemen

First of all, I would like to extend profound gratitude and appreciation to the president of the University of Liberia, Dr. Julius Sawolo Nelson and his able team of professionals, as well as the management and staff (Dr. Saylee & Prof. Tarway-Twalla) of the Certificate in Statistics (CEST) Programme.

I want to mention the fact that the CEST Programme at the Institute for Populations Studies (IPS), University of Liberia has been supporting the line ministries, agencies, and commissions with statisticians since 1980. It is important and interesting to note that since Liberia got its independence in 1847 since the Liberia College was founded in 1864, and since the University of Liberia was founded in 1951, there was neither a degree nor a certificate training programme until the CEST programme was established in 1980. Many thanks to the University of Liberia for its farsightedness in supporting statistical training when all public and private training institutions did not dream of such efforts.

I want to re-emphasize here that the CEST programme, as the only statistical training institution in Liberia, has paved and will continue to pave the way for harmonizing and improving statistics in Liberia in particular, and West Africa as a whole. We, again, thank the faculty and staff of the CEST programme for the great work that has been going on for decades now.

Statistics is relevant and essential to national development as the backbone of informed decision-making and progress in our society. The contribution of statistics in our society has helped in the attainment of vital information that contributes to GDP numbers, Consumer Price Index (CPI), Producer Price Index (PPI), national accounts, population surveys, agriculture surveys, health and demographic surveys, household income and expenditure surveys, amongst others.

As graduates of this institution, you will join past students in contributing vastly to the attainment of vital statistics that would contribute to policy decisions, policy formulation, national development agenda, research, and strategic planning. Understanding statistics offers us a lens through which we can understand and interpret the complexities of our world.

I want to say that in the context of national development, statistics serve as the cornerstone of evidence-based policy, decision formulation, strategic planning, and resource allocation. From economic indicators to demographic trends, from healthcare outcomes to educational attainment, statistical data provide policymakers with the insights needed to identify challenges, set priorities, and measure progress.

One of the most compelling ways in which statistics contributes to national development is through its role in economic planning and monitoring. By analyzing data on GDP growth, inflation rates, employment trends, and trade flows, policymakers can assess the health of the economy, identify areas of strength and vulnerability, and formulate targeted interventions to stimulate growth and mitigate risks. Moreover, statistics enable us to track the impact of policy measures over time, ensuring accountability and transparency in the governance process.

Beyond economics, statistics also play a crucial role in advancing social development and equity within our society. By disaggregating data along demographic lines such as age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, we can identify disparities and inequities that may hinder inclusive growth and social cohesion. Armed with this knowledge, policymakers can design interventions aimed at reducing inequality, expanding access to essential services, and promoting social justice for all citizens.

Furthermore, statistics empower us to address some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation, including public health crises, environmental degradation, and climate change. Through epidemiological studies, environmental monitoring, and risk assessments, statisticians help us understand the root causes of these challenges, predict their future trajectories, and devise evidence-based strategies for mitigation and adaptation. In the face of emerging threats such as pandemics and natural disasters, the timely and accurate collection of statistical data can mean the difference between effective response and catastrophic consequences.

Moreover, statistics catalyze innovation and technological advancement, driving productivity gains, and fostering competitiveness in the global marketplace. By harnessing the power of big data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, statisticians unlock new insights, optimize processes, and create value across diverse sectors of the economy. From precision agriculture to smart cities, from personalized medicine to financial services, statistical methods enable us to harness the vast potential of data-driven innovation for the benefit of society as a whole.

We want to encourage the administration of the Institute of Population Studies (IPS) to continue the good work, and that LISGIS/HISWA, through the World Bank, will continue to support statistical training, including capacity building at the IPS. Through support from the bank, it has already begun with the training of 20 students at the master level, who are already in the country. We currently have another 20 expected in the country by 30 September 2024, adding to the graduation of CEST students today. We, again thank the UL authority for such progress.

In conclusion, the relevance of statistics to national development cannot be overstated. It is not merely a technical discipline or academic pursuit; it is a powerful instrument for progress, prosperity, and social justice. As we navigate the complexities of the 21st century, let us embrace statistics as a guiding light, illuminating the path toward a more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient future for our nation and the world.

For you these graduates here today, I urge you to join the past students who entered universities; worked in the public and private sectors; and became supervisors, directors, specialists, and ministers. Statistics will remain the guiding light, illuminating the path toward a more inclusive, and sustainable development process in Liberia.

Thank you and good luck.

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