The Sierra Leone Web




Mr. Chairman
Cabinet Ministers
Honorouble Members of Parliament
Mayor of Freetown and Chairmen of Local Councils
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, and Resident Coordinator of the UN System in Sierra Leone
Members of the Diplomatic Corps and International Organization
Heads of International Agencies
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen:


Soon after assuming office in 1996 I realized the enormous challenge my Government was confronted with in its mission to create the foundations of a wealthy and prosperous society. In particular, I was at once confronted by the harsh reality of the absence of credible data; the statistical system had collapsed, with the Central Statistics Office a grim shadow of an institution of international standard. Targeted planning was thus a great challenge.

The combination of this unpleasant picture, the recommendations of an IMF mission report on the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and our realization that sound data is a key enabler of effective planning spurred us to address the inadequacies of the CSO. The reform measures undertaken by my Government have culminated in this new outfit now called Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL).

Further, human and legal institutional reforms were implemented to strengthen SSL, including the repealing of the Statistics and Census Acts in 2002. In turn this paved the way for Government to be in the position in February 2004 to call for a census of Sierra Leone to be conducted in December of the same year. It is worth noting that it has been 20 years since our country was in a position to conduct such a comprehensive survey of its people.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great joy that we are here today to receive the provisional census results for Sierra Leone since 1985. For many of our compatriots this was the first Census in which they participated. Indeed, this category of our citizens who were born within the last two decades now constitutes a high percentage of our population. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them for having just been counted in our National Census for the first time.

I will be remiss in my responsibility, if I fail to mention that this laudable achievement would not have been possible without the support of our partners. The IMF, the World Bank, the UNFPA, the EU, the UNDP and DFID all deserve our special gratitude. There is no doubt that today's occasion demonstrates the value of such an extensive degree of support.

Finally, I realize that this day would not have been possible without a reliable and committed team. Particularly, I wish to personally thank the members of the Statistics Council for their role in the census process and you, Mr. Statistician General and Chief Census Officer, for the resourcefulness, dedication and great sense of direction that is your legacy in Sierra Leone's first ever achievement of a timely Provisional Census report. I greatly look forward to receiving your final report of the 2004 census, as well as to your continued commitment to making SSL a source of statistical excellence.
Dignitaries at the ceremony

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great pride and pleasure, that on behalf of the Government, our partners and the people of Sierra Leone I now receive the provisional figures of the 2004 population and housing census from the Statistician General. May we all look forward to more targeted planning and policy formulation in Sierra Leone.

Thank you.