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Measuring GDP in Africa

  • Africa is an economic region with enormous potential attracting much interest and investment.
  • It is difficult to measure the transformation that is taking place across the continent since the quality of African economic statistics are extremely poor.
  • Missing data, out of date base years, disputed population data and the size of the unrecorded informal economy means that international rankings of countries in terms of GDP and GDP per capita are meaningless.
  • The issue of data quality needs to be urgently addressed.
  •

Data Releases

New from World Economics: The Sales Managers' Index: Africa

African SMI Signals Continuing Slow Recovery From Recession
New from World Economics: The Sales Managers' Index: Nigeria

Nigerian Economic Growth Remains Strong in September
New from World Economics: The Sales Managers' Index: South Africa

SMI Shows the South African Economy Remains Close to Recession

Editors Choice

Africa’s Growing Appetite for Infrastructure Expenditure

  Africa’s Growing Appetite for Infrastructure Expenditure
The African Development Bank estimates Africa’s infrastructure financing needs US$390 billion by 2024, much of it required for power projects.
France Benefits at the expense of the African Franc Zone

  France Benefits at the expense of the African Franc Zone
A recent estimate places aggregate net capital flight out of the African currency union during the period 1970 to 2010 at around US$83.5 billion,117% of combined GDP.

  Remittances for Africa's Development
African remittance inflows have quadrupled since 1990 reaching US$40 billion in 2010. Remittance flows relieve poverty, but they also improve the balance of payments and bolster foreign exchange reserves.

  EU Trade Policies and Africa’s Exports
Trade barriers exist to key African exports, which make it difficult for the continent to take advantage of the growth-enhancing benefits of trade or to follow an export-orientated development plan, leaving Africa dependent on the world price of natural resources and minerals.

  Bridging the Economic Divide Between Anglophone and Francophone Africa
World Economics emphasises the commercial chasm which remains to be bridged between francophone and Anglophone Africa.

  Why the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements are Likely to be Damaging for African Economies
Africa is in trouble. Its future is once again on the table, and it is Europe that holds the ace.

  Trade Out of Poverty
Integration into the world economy has proven a powerful means for countries to promote economic growth, development, and poverty reduction. Governments need to focus on trade policy towards developing countries to improve the lives of the poorest

  The Health and Wealth of Africa
Among Africa’s problems, chronic poverty and poor health stand out. Traditional development thinking has maintained that health improvements are a consequence of income growth. But new evidence shows that investing in health, with the aid of the international community, could make a big difference in Africa’s economic prospects.

  Malthus Postponed
World Economics examines the potential to promote palm oil production in the tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa.

  Connecting the African Continent
This paper provides an overview of the contribution of economic infrastructure to growth and human development in Africa

  Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub Saharan Africa’s growth bounced back to 5% in 2010 following a slowdown to 2.8% in 2009 because of the GFC.

  Boosting Infrastructure Investments in Africa
The absolute and relative lack of infrastructure in Africa suggests that the continent’s competitiveness could be boosted by scaling up investments in infrastructure.

Africa Data Papers

  Counting the Bottom Billion
What do the statistics from the international databases tell us about income and growth in Sub-Saharan Africa? Less than we would like to think. World Economics looks from a starting point in per capita GDP estimates in Africa.

  Agricultural Statistics:
Who benefits from distortions?

This paper explores the political economy of the production of agricultural output data using the recent history of Malawi as an example. 

  Nigerian GDP to rise by 50% on improved measurement
Economic statistics for many African countries are seriously deficient. In Ghana an improvement in evaluating economic activity, mainly in the Services sector, added 60% to the size of measured GDP in 2010. Nigeria.

  Tanzania’s GDP grew 31.4 percent after rebasing
Tanzania joined Kenya and Uganda in revising their GDP data. A new methodology and classification system was implemented.

  Wealth and Population Data in Africa
World Economics examines the grounds for challenging much of the conventionally accepted UN and World Bank economic data relating to both the absolute and relative per capita income of many African countries and to their growth rates.
  Africa - the Next Success Story?
In the light of unreliable official statistics and the highly selective information often presented by investment companies with an incentive to highlight the positive, this article aims to provide some extra analysis to add to the recent widespread comments on high growth rates within the continent

More Papers on Africa

  A New Challenge
Over the last five years there has been a noticeable shift in focus among oil and gas companies active in the continent of Africa.

  Vibrant Africa Continues to Attract
The global economic crisis left Sub-Saharan countries relatively unscathed. There are a number of reasons for this, but one crucial factor has been the relative lack of integration of the economies of most Sub-Saharan countries with the world economy

  Africa's Water
Water underpins the whole of Africa’s economy, be it municipal, agricultural, industrial or mining, and is, unfortunately, often a critical factor in limiting economic growth or peace and stability.

  Global Financial Crisis, Protectionism and Current Account Deficit
The recent financial and economic crisis, and the resurgence in the popularity of emerging markets has raised fears in these economies of a resumption in capital flight or a sudden stop of capital inflows.

  Further Fallout from the Global Financial Crisis
We examine the recent credit slowdown in emerging markets from three analytical angles.

  Can Africa Catch Up?
This paper shows that Africa is marginal to the world economy, but that the world economy is very important for Africa.

  Gabon Emergent
World Economics takes a look at the former French colonies remarkable strides in economic development, 50 years after independence from France.

  Gabon's Economic Potential
Gabon: 50 years after independence from France will its market orientated strategy to achieve emerging nation status be realised?
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