The National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) chief executive officer Dr Moses Rugutt’s observation that Africa needs data generated by its own entities to design appropriate development interventions is welcome. Calling for collaborative research and use of reliable data among universities, research organisations, private sector and governments to produce tangible outcomes, he decries the fact that most statistics on Africa do not resonate with the actual situation on the ground.
Africa has largely depended on statistics generated outside the continent by nations and groups who have their own agenda. Such groups have presented inflated indices on poverty and disease that on thorough scrutiny have been found to be wanting. These statistics which often portray the African continent as hopeless and poor - with its populations living on 'less than one dollar per day,' have duped Africans and robbed them of the willingness to be proactive in harnessing the immense wealth on the continent, hence succumbing to donor interventions.
The standards that are mostly used to justify the economic prowess of the world may not necessarily take into account the true essence of their economic strengths, as clearly is the case in Africa. GDP statistics of African nations and many other developing nations do not adequately reflect their cultural output, whilst cultural output forms a significant proportion of the GDP of western nations. Africa therefore ought to rethink the existing statistics. It is not enough for Africa to embark on data generated from African entities; the continent must go ahead and act on the findings if the continent has to progress.