By Blessings Mashaya

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa, pictured, yesterday said next month’s census is aimed at alleviating poverty as it will give the government  statistics on schools dropouts, housing characteristics and living conditions.

Launching a 50 days countdown to the 2022 population and housing census scheduled to take place between April 21 and 30, Mnangagwa yesterday said the government would use the statistics from the census to improve people’s lives.

“These are challenges encountered in performing routine activities such as seeing, walking, remembering or concentrating, self-care, communication and hearing. This information enables the government to craft intervention policies and programmes that reduce inequalities among disadvantaged population groups.

“I am pleased to advise that for the first time in the history of censuses in Zimbabwe, the 2022 Census will emphasise housing characteristics and living conditions. Focus will be on such aspects as access to electricity, types of dwelling units and sources of drinking water, among others. Ladies and gentlemen, Zimbabwe’s economic growth and development require full and optimal utilisation of the existing labour force,” Mnangagwa said.

He said using the census results, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) would also provide relevant, accurate and reliable statistics on the size, composition and skills of the labour force.

“My government, therefore, stands ready to address any gaps that the census data will reveal, and to work towards reducing unemployment. It is now widely accepted that migration impacts economic development. Accordingly, the 2022 population and housing census have a module on emigration that seeks to provide demographic information and estimate of our Zimbabwean diaspora population.

“Data from this emigration module will assist the government to determine the level of skills loss or brain drain that has occurred. As a member of the United Nations, Zimbabwe successfully implemented the Millennium Development Goals which ended in 2015.”

The President said the government would also use the census to improve the country’s education sector.

“The 2022 Population and Housing Census will provide comprehensive information on levels of education, literacy and fields of specialisation of our population. The census will also interrogate reasons for dropping out of school. This will assist my government to come up with interventions that reduce school drop-out rates.

“More data will be collected that enable monitoring of the country’s progress towards achieving SDG4 of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education. In line with the Second Republic’s mantra of not leaving anyone or any demography behind, the upcoming Census will have a module to provide statistical data on people with functional difficulties,” he said further.

Mnangagwa added that the government was excited that the census was going digital.

“Previously, enumerators would use paper questionnaires for data collection. The 2022 census will equip enumerators with electronic tablets for data collection and prompt transmission of data to our servers. This facilitates instant processing and analysis of data, thus enabling us to produce preliminary results within three months of conducting the census.

“On the other hand, infant mortality rates declined from 64 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2012 to 53 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2019, according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey. Maternal Mortality Ratio decreased from 525 deaths to 462 per 100 000 live births in 2012 and 2019 respectively.”

After the completion of the census process the government is set to conduct a delimitation exercise ahead of the 2023 national elections.

Delimitation is the process of dividing the country into constituencies and wards for the purposes of elections for National Assembly and local authorities’ seats.