The Statistician General & CEO of Stats SL, Prof Osman Sankoh (Mallam O) has on 27 April 2021 been awarded and decorated as Commander of the Order of the Rokel (COR) by His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio, on the occasion of Sierra Leone’s 60th Independence Anniversary for dedicated service in Education and Statistics & Adviser to NaCOVERC.
The doyen of Statistics in Sierra Leone has received some of the most prestigious awards and recognitions in the country, from national and international organisations since he took over Stats SL in the year 2018.
Professor Sankoh holds a first class BSc. Ed. degree from Njala University College, University of Sierra Leone, majoring in Mathematics and minoring in English Language. He entered University directly from Tomlinson High School in Songo. His postgraduate studies culminated in a DSc. in Statistics from the Technical University Dortmund in Germany.
Prof. Sankoh became the Statistician General & CEO of Statistics Sierra Leone in 2018. Under his leadership the institution has witnessed a positive transformation with his WINNER vision and a mantra of BONGOLOGY that is driven by Fairness, Integrity, Accountability and Transparency (FIAT). Stats SL has gained high credibility in recent times with MDAs and other national and international agencies collaborating with it.
Since 2018, Stats SL has created and consolidated links with several International Institutions including the World Bank and the IMF and UN Agencies, including UNFPA, UN Women, UNDP and UNICEF among others. The benefits for collaborating with Partners and counterparts, including ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) under his leadership are immense, among which is the most recent US $30 Million grant from the World Bank for a 5-year period. This grant has put Stats SL on a solid footing to implement key national statistical activities including the first electronic Mid-Term Census in Sierra Leone and the first Agricultural Census activities in the last forty years.
Apart from the numerous awards and recognitions received by Mallam O, in March 2020 in New York at the 51st Session of the UN Statistical Commission, he was elected as the Rapporteur of the Commission’s Bureau, and became the only African serving the Bureau and the first Sierra Leonean in that position. He was re-elected for a second term in March this year-2021.
Due to demonstrated capacity in institutional building and transformation, Prof. Sankoh was appointed in April 2020 to act as Vice Chancellor and Principal of Njala University. In just a year in this joint role, Njala University has recorded gains that are acknowledged and reported nationally and internationally, for high accountability and efficient management of the university’s prestigious projects and finances during his tenure.
His exemplary and inspirational leadership at Stats SL and Njala University, Prof. Sankoh is a peerless and committed philanthropist.
The Mallam O. & J. Sankoh Foundation, which he and his wife founded in 2012, continues to finance the Sierra Leonean Writers Series (SLWS). SLWS publishes and promotes writers of Sierra Leonean origin and other nationalities whose books must have a Sierra Leonean context. As publisher, Mallam O. has published and promoted the works of more than one hundred and fifty established and budding Sierra Leonean writers.
Prof. Sankoh was appointed in 2020 by His Excellency the President to serve on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee on Emergencies (STAGE) which provides scientific and technical advice in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Sierra Leone.
Before he finally returned home, Prof. Sankoh was for a decade the Executive Director of the international health research organization - INDEPTH Network based in Ghana, flying the flag of Sierra Leone. He served 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific and dealt with many international researchers, donors and partners, including the World Bank and the Gates Foundation.
Mallam O. has more than 120 scientific publications to his credit in international journals. His passion is to support research in Sierra Leone so that national policy development and decision making are guided by research evidence.