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Counting the Bottom Billion

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  • Morten Jerven

Abstract

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. The article takes a starting point in per capita GDP estimates in Africa. Recently, Ghana announced a revision of its GDP statistics, increasing its national income estimates by over 60%. This article shows that similar revisions are to be expected in other countries. Many statistical offices are currently using outdated data and methods. It is argued that with the current uneven application of methods and poor availability of data, any ranking of African economies according to GDP levels is misleading. It is argued that the World Bank, prominent among data disseminators, is currently not providing the necessary information to complement its datasets, and that this shortcoming misleads data users.

Suggested Citation

  • Morten Jerven, 2011. "Counting the Bottom Billion," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 12(4), pages 35-52, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:wej:wldecn:494
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    Cited by:

    1. Oasis Kodila-Tedika, 2014. "Africa's statistical tragedy: best statistics, best government effectiveness," International Journal of Development Issues, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 13(2), pages 171-178, July.
    2. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2013. "Poor Numbers: explanation of Africa's statistical tragedy
      [Pauvreté de chiffres : explication de la tragédie statistique africaine]
      ," MPRA Paper 43734, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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