New on ISN: Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics

African economies feature huge discrepancies and alarming gaps in statistical knowledge. These exist with respect to productivity, income distribution, and population. Some of these statistical problems represent simple inadequacy of data collection, but many are the result of politics. Data are subject to manipulation by political leaders to ensure favorable publicity and may also be misrepresented by major foreign aid donors for similar reasons. Morten Jerven uses the claimed success of Malawi towards achieving agricultural improvements and the UN’s Millennium Development goals as a case in point. A further consequence of such problems is that reports of recent substantial and inclusive economic growth in Africa should be treated with caution. Jerven, Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University, Canada, discusses both problems and solutions in his article which was published today on Independent Science News at URL: