In 2013 the chief economist for the World Bank’s Africa region, Shanta Devarajan, delivered a devastating assessment of the capacity of African states to measure development and declared “Africa’s Statistical Tragedy”. Is there a “statistical tragedy” unfolding in Africa now?If so then examining the roots of the problem of provision of statistics in poor economies is certainly of great importance. This Special Issue on measuring African development in the past and in the present draws on the historical experience of colonial French West Africa, Ghana, Sudan, Mauritania and Tanzania and the more contemporary experiences of Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The authors each reflect on the changing ways statistics represent African economies and how they are used to govern them.
It is published by the Canadian Journal of Development Studies and for a limited time all the papers are publicly available through this link.
I have written an introduction to the special issue, which is available here. I am very pleased with the range of contributions, see the table of content here – the authors and paper titles are listed below.