The long-awaited census, the fourth in the nation’s history, will be held between April 7 and April 22, 2019.
Initially scheduled to be conducted in November 2017, the census was postponed again to March 2018 due to public unrest and violence in the country. The continued unrest also caused further postponement until the current date was scheduled, sources close to the case disclosed to Fortune.
To undertake the project, the Central Statistical Agency has invested 1.7 billion Br so far. The census will be conducted by 148,000 poll takers and their 37,000 supervisors to record the population nationwide. The Agency’s recruitment targeted primary school teachers with basic knowledge of technology as a prerequisite.
Currently, the Central Statistical Agency has completed the technical tasks of preparing census maps, questionnaires and data analysis, according to Safi Gemedi, director of public relations and information distribution at the Agency.
The agency produced 152,000 census maps for both rural and urban areas and is projected to finalise the work in 10 to 14 days.
“We might extend the duration if we encounter problems or could not complete the process in the scheduled period,” Safi told Fortune.
Last month, parliament approved the formation of a National Census Commission chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mokonnen. The commission has 20 members including nine ministers and a representative from the Office of the Prime Minister and regional states.
After finalising the data gathering, the result will be announced within five months, which is one-fourth of the time it used to take previous censuses, according to Safi.
Last year, after a long controversial process, the Agency procured 180,000 tablets, power banks and solar panels at a cost of 663 million Br.
“This will help us get accurate data,” Safi said.
Experts in the field applaud the usage of digital technology for a census.
“Country census information is weak and sometimes inaccurate,” argues Ejigu Alem, a PhD candidate and Lecturer at Haramaya University School of Geography & Environmental Studies.
“The technology improves the data collection process and yields more reliable information,” Ejigu said.
The expert also suggests the census takes place before the upcoming election.
“The census should be done before the national election,” he said. “Otherwise, it will be difficult to mount election stations.”
The first census was taken in 1984, which estimated Ethiopia’s population to be 42.6 million. Ten years later, the figure reached 53.5 million.
The last census took place in 2007 at a cost of 74 million dollars, showing the population figure had jumped to 73.8 million. The CSA has projected the population to reach 94.3 million by the end of the current fiscal year.