Everyone says Africa is 'rising.' An 'Afrobarometer' poll questions that.(Read article summary)
Africa's growth may be overstated, or new wealth may be accruing mainly among elites. Or both.
A version of this post originally appeared on Africa in Transition¬†blog. The views expressed are the author's own.¬†
¬†Afrobarometer¬†is a research project coordinated by various institutions in African countries and with partners in thirty-one countries.
It recently conducted a¬†survey of public opinion¬†across 34 African countries that showed popular skepticism about the ‚ÄúAfrica Rising‚ÄĚ narrative. This, despite relatively high growth rates.¬†
In a report released on Oct. 1,¬†Afrobarometer¬†data indicates that 20 percent of Africa‚Äôs population often goes without food, clean water, or medical care.
Further, more than half of those surveyed think that economic conditions in their country are bad or ‚Äúvery bad.‚ÄĚ Some three quarters thought their government was doing a bad job in closing the gap between rich and poor.
John Allen, writing on¬†AllAfrica.com, suggests that the results indicate that higher benefits of growth are going to a wealthy elite or that official statistics are overstating growth, or possibly both.
Morten Jerven, in his recently book¬†Poor Number, has shown the shortcomings of African statistics.
These, and other inconsistencies, make Allen‚Äôs hypothesis on where the majority of Africa‚Äôs wealth is directed, look credible.