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 in his 2013 article “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.
- economic growth
- state capacity