My experience is that African professionals who are trained
by donor Agencies tend to implement complicated systems that
are very cumbersome with failure as the end result. The
best thing to do is to thoroughly evaluate the local
situation and not to apply a priori solutions that worked in
one place and should again work.
I have found that simple solutions work best. For example
in the Central Statistical Office where I worked in Zambia,
a whole systems staff training in high level programming
languages could not summarize statistics from a major
National survey in a timely fashion. I in comparison using
Lotus on a micro computer trained statisticians with no data
processing academic background to program data entry macros
for a 16 page Commercial Farm Census. Using simplified
techniques that were very similar to the existing manual
listing sheets, enabled us to publish an 11 year backlog of
statistics over 700 data tables in less than a two year
period. My Zambian counter part was programming Lotus
macros very proficiently.
I have a paper on this published in the proceedings of the
Second conference of the International Association for
Official Statistics, Beijing, October 1990.