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The importance of sound statistical understanding is often overlooked in data analytics. Elmarie Nel, Head of Research Analytics in the Policy and Strategy Department at the City of Cape Town, takes us through her career journey with statistics in policy decision-making. That started in the South African Reserve Bank, where she co-developed the first official nowcasting model for South Africa to the City of Cape Town, where she uses data in various ways to assist planning, policy and strategy development, alongside crisis response.