How fast is Africa really growing?

Africa is rising, but poor data availability means that we can’t be sure by how much. China’s customs data sheds some light on Africa’s growth, showing that Africa-China trade ballooned to USD210 billion last year from USD5-7 billion at the end of the 1990s. Lending to the private sector in Africa also has surged, with private-sector credit growth more than doubling in real terms between 2000 and 2010.

Such data points aside, little is known about the true magnitude of Africa’s growth surge. Data quality in most Sub-Saharan African economies is weak. In many instances, the official data is too out-of-date to tell us much that is useful. The lack of data complicates decision-making for both the private sector and governments. It reduces certainty, adds to the cost of doing business and can delay the formulation of much-needed policy. 

While Africa has seen surging foreign direct investment and private portfolio inflows in recent years, investors – especially those new to the region – are often shooting in the dark when it comes to data. Improved data quality can alter our perceptions of the region dramatically. When Ghana released its rebased GDP figures in 2010 (the first rebasing since 1993) the economy turned out to be 63 percent larger than previously thought.  Nigeria’s rebasing earlier this year was even more dramatic, with the estimated size of the economy increasing by 89 percent. With its GDP rebasing, Nigeria ‘became’ the largest economy in Africa and the 26th-largest in the world.

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This period, running from May 20 to 31 2024, is crucial for those who have not yet registered to vote. This announcement comes in response to a significant shortfall in registered voters following the recent registration period. As it stands, only 62% of the target number of voters registered, leaving a considerable gap.With Botswana's general elections scheduled for October, every eligible citizen needs to register and exercise their...

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