3 January 2013

Nigeria: Quality of Statistics Poor in Nigeria - World Bank

The World Bank has described as obsolete the quality of data from Nigeria and other African countries.

In a report by the Director, Department of Economic Policy and Poverty Reduction Programmes, Africa, Mr. Marcelo Giugale, he said the bank through various donations from rich countries have invested so much money in improving the statistics in many African countries including Nigeria.

He also said a report entitled: "Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century," reveals that about $700 million has been disbursed to Africa between 2009 and 2012. The money he said was to build its capacity to collect data. He stressed that communication technology was what would revolutionise African statistics.

"How badly does this skew the data? Well, to give you an idea, when Ghana used a newer methodology to update its accounts in 2010, it found out that its economy was about 60 per cent bigger than it had previously thought - and the country instantly became "middle-income" in the global ranking.

"Second, the latest poverty counts for Africa are, on average, five years old. So we only have guesstimates of how the global financial, food and fuel crises have impacted the distribution of income, wealth and opportunities in the region. This is because, to count the poor, you need "household surveys" - those face-to-face, home visits where people are asked how much they earn, own, know and so on. In fifteen African countries, this has been done only once since 2000."

He also added that the advent of technology now allows for the surveys to be done not only more frequently, but continuously.

"Industrial surveys are even more infrequent than household surveys - only a handful of African countries have done at least one in the last ten years. This is a pity! Knowing what your producers are doing - and what keeps them from producing more - is critical if you want to design policies that increase employment, productivity and economy.

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