CEM REPORT, ECONOMY | Nigeria is missing out in the top African countries with the most transparent and reliable GDP data according to the latest ranking by World Economics.
No one will deny the fact that data is all is required in determining or estimating the worth of a country. It’s authenticity and accuracy strongly determine whether the country is placed rightly or otherwise.
More emphatically, the development pace or underdeveloped state of a nation has a strong link to the quality of data put out in the public space. It is paramount that accurate data gathering is made a priority, its availability is without hindrance and its utilization is not obstructed.
World Economics has developed the Global GDP Data Quality Ratings 2023, (Updated March 2023) to review the usefulness of official GDP data of individual countries.
The data rankings are produced from scores in five areas: Base year recency, Standard of National Accounts SNA version, Informal economy size; research resources available, and the likelihood of Government interference. Scores are based on a 0-100 scale.
The World Economics ranking is based on a grading system, A is as good as it gets, B is good, C is use with caution, D is poor, and E is extremely Poor. However, these grades are based on an aggregate score of the aforementioned metrics.
According to the ranking, Nigeria appeared on E category, meaning that GDP data from the African most populous country is categorized extremely poor and not reliable. Out of the 32 countries that appeared in this category, 16 are from Africa
No African country appeared on the A list, Mauritius and Algeria are the only two African countries that appeared on B list while Morroco, South Africa, and Botswana appeared on C list. Other countries on C list are Benin, Malawi, Cape Verde and Namibia.
A further analysis of the ranking by Inside Business Africa shows a correlation between corruption index and GDP data quality. The highest Corruption Index among the 10 is 60 which is for Botswana and Cape Verde.
Countries like Nigeria with 150 (24th) score are the ones found on the E list, a phenomenon that underline the connection between transparency and corruption as well as transparency and development.
“It is easy to see why most of the successful governments, are also some of the most transparent. The information they make available to the public helps procure solutions for national and socio-economic issues.
“Of these issues, the most prevalent lies with issues facing government funds and budget, which in turn is subject to how much revenue the country is generating. It is important that people know how well their economy is performing, and the foremost indicator of this is a country’s gross domestic product”; Inside Business Africa writes.
While inaccuracy of GDP data is traceable to lack of transparency, faulty data collection is also key factor. Efficacy of data collection instrument through the use of technology is substantially a factor to be considered. Some of African countries pay minimal attention to agencies in charge data collection and processing.
There have been times when data released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics on critical economic variables such as inflation and sectoral growth are viewed to have fallen short of the realities observed. In times this occur, figures released are seen to underplay the true full scale.
Inside Business Africa also noted that there are frequent discrepancies between what nations actually use and what the International Monetary Fund and World Bank describe as their most current Base Year and/or SNA in use.
This is sometimes brought on by the international organizations’ frequent and inevitable time gaps in receiving information on local developments, and it also occasionally results from human mistakes.