SPAS
SPADA II
ASPAD II
Promoting,
and
sustaining,
the developement
of Probability
Theory and
Statistics
whithin Africa
and in the world.

Promoting
their use
as possible ways
to Africa's
rebirth.

Initiative to Setting Up the Statistical Pan African Society (SPAS)

Initiative pour la création de la Société Pan Africaine de Statistiques (SPAS)


Report on the 57th ISI Session, Durban 16-22 August, 2009

The SPAS participation


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Version française

Pictures from the session

It ended on good notes
The 57th Session of the International Statistical Institue (ISI) is now over. This turned out to be a really enjoyable time together with really good discussions on scientific works, very fruitful exchanges among delegates, some pretty good courses of high value and interest and some pretty amazing social events.

The beginning
The session began on Sunday August 16, 2009 with a nice opening ceremony, that was highlighted by the presence his excellency Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa. The ceremony was nicely entertained by a stellar performance by The Soweto Gospel Choir.

Lots of interesting work
From Monday 17 August to Saturday 22 August, more that 1300 papers were presented in the 60 sessions, divided in : Invited Paper Meetings (IPM), Special topic Contributed Paper Meetings (STCPM) and Contributed Paper meetings (CPM). These presentations covered numerous topics in Statistics, from Stochastic processes to Official Statistics.

Then the beach party came along
Some of the social event highlights include the beach party that was held on Wednesday August 19, 2009 and the delicious Gala Diner at the end shared by all delegates.

The African participation was impressive
One of the most striking facts was the massive presence of African delegates. Indeed, the organizers (Statistics SA), made a concerted effort to associate African statisticians to this ISI meeting, the first ever to be held in Subsaharian Africa, especially toward young African Statisticians and it did pay off. We were almost 600 to attend this Statistics World Congress. For all of you, who were able to make it to Durban, thank you for your participation, and for making this a successful meeting. For those of you who were not able to make it for any reason, we hope to see you at coming meetings.

SPAS in Durban
As to the Statistical Pan African Society (SPAS) participation, there were four that attended the Session. They were, Gane Samb LO from SENEGAL, Vincent Agboto, from USA, Kossi E. Gneyou from TOGO, and Joseph Ngatchou-Wandji from FRANCE. Vincent chaired a session. Their presentations were on multiple topics including :
  • Uniform Weak convergence of non randomly weighted poverty measures for longitudinal data (Gane Samb LO)
  • A Bayesian approach to model robust designs (Vincent Agboto)
  • Strong Consistency of Nonparametric Regression functions in Competing Risks Model (Kossi E. Gneyou)
  • On choosing a mixture model for clustering (Joseph Ngatchou Wandji)
Our colleague and SPAS member Dr. Dahud Kehinde Shangodoyin from BOTSWANA, was scheduled to present his work on Time Series Model for Estimating the Death Rate of Emerging and Re-emerging Disease. Unfortunately, we were not able to meet him in Durban.

How we get there
Three SPAS members (Lo, Agboto and Gneyou) were fully funded by the organizers to attend the meeting. The participation of four SPAS members (the ones fully funded in addition to Joseph Ngatchou-Wandji) was coordinated by the SPAS, from the information to the funding. The number of people funded for participation could have been higher is more abstracts were submitted and more applications for funding were requested by many more SPAS members. In the future, we highly recommend that anyone with any slight interest in any meeting should make all possible efforts to submit abstracts and apply for funding as the possibility of getting funded is usually unkown.

SPAS initiative spreads!
Of course, we took on this unique opportunity to disseminate the news about the SPAS and to reach a maximum numbers of African statistics and probability scholars. We also took in the meeting gathering the national and regional societies and ISI. We will try to be an active member of the ISI Committee for the Strengthening of Cooperation between the ISI and Statistical Societies.

SPAS and AFSA.
One revelation participants have to deal with in Durban was our possible relation with the African Statistical Society (AFSA). Most SPAS participants were not aware of the existence of such an association. Some participants knew of the existence of AFSA and after some discussions, we are considering having SPAS as a section of AFSA, but of course SPAS will still have its own rules. With discussions still ongoing, in the meantime, we have decided to continue with organizational aspects of SPAS as we have been doing for a while until further developments.

ASA Statistical ambassador
This is a very good news for all of us. The American Statistical Society (ASA) has a program denoted : Statistical ambassador. The principle of this is simple : A country is chosen first. In this country, one statistician is elected as a statistical ambassador. This one is invited in the USA and takes a semester courses in some promising research topic. After completion of the course, he or she gets home and trains at least 10 young master level students on things learned and experience acquired while being the ambassador. At the same time, he or she will be required to give lectures in this new learn research topic at a regional level. The good news is that the next ambassador we be very likely chosen in the subsaharian Africa. The SPAS is dedicated to follow this project and inform members at appropriate time so that everyone has a meaningful chance of being the next ambassador. SPAS members had some discussions about this with ASA staff present in Durban. Some collaboration directions were discussed and planned and a report to members will be coming out soon on this.

Next sessions : Get started !
The next session, now called Statistical World Congress, will be held in Dublin (Ireland) in 2011, August 21-26, and the one after that will be in Hong Kong in 2013, August 24-31. All SPAS members should start preparing now for these meetings with ideas to be submitted in abstracts and appropriate channels to be taken for funding requests.

Thanks to ISI and Stats SA
The SPAS is expressing a warm thanks and appreciations to ISI executives and Statistics South Africa for funding offered to SPAS members and are congratulating them for the great job done and sterling organization of the ISI Session.

International calendar
Now, let us all copy this International calendar in our notebook and organize our papers consequently. The more we present our works, the more recognition and experience we will get in our respective fields. But here is the secret : share information, register and find the funding !!!

Gane Samb LO
The English version has been corrected and polished by Dr. Setodji