Lies, damned lies and statistics

Numbers describing growth, income or poverty in Africa are generally not to be trusted. These are the findings of Dr Morten Jerven’s research who for several years has looked into how statistics are produced in African countries. According to him, lacking resources for gathering and processing of data is only one part of the problem. A trend is that donors are increasingly demanding monitoring and data in return for funding. In this situation, donors can ask states to provide data for them and thus generate an outcome of “policy driven evidence” rather than “evidence based policy”.

Dr Morten Jerven will give a key note speech 27 September during the Nordic Africa Days entitled ‘Africa by numbers: Knowledge & Governance’

Read an article by Morten Jerven on NAI researcher Mats Utas’ blog.

Also read article by Henrik Urdal that describes how humanitarian organisations misuse numbers and statistics to promoter their own causes.

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