«In recent months, as turmoil has spread across the continent, and the red-hot economic growth has cooled», the optimistic narrative of Africa rising has taken a hit, according to an article in The New York Times (NYT) published this week.
The newspaper has interview a wide range of experts about whether, in light of recent political turmoil and economic setbacks such as the slump in commodity prices, the continent really is rising or reeling.
One of the experts interviewed is NMBU’s Morten Jerven, Professor in Global Change and International Relations at the Departement of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric).
Jerven has researched and published widely on economic development in Africa, including authoring the influential books Poor Numbers: How we are misled by African development statistics and Africa: Why economists got it wrong.
Speaking to NYT, Jerven argues that the African growth was never as robust as had been believed:
He said that the economic indicators for many African economies in the 1990s and early 2000s were inaccurate, and that the economic progress in the last five to 10 years that appeared to have been sudden was, in fact, gradual. In other cases, Mr. Jerven said, African governments made bold economic assumptions or simply used fake numbers to make themselves look good. “The narrative had been too rosy,” he said.
Read the full NYT article here.