非洲需要数据革命

华盛顿—自从“数据革命”一词出现以来,涌现出大量动作定义、发展和实施日程以改变发展统计数据的收集、使用和分配。这是有意义的事情。要想评估国际社会的下一个发展日程(不管其细节如何),没有准确地数据是万万不能的。

但是,在撒哈拉以南非洲——在即将到来的可持续发展目标(Sustainable Development Goals)的指引下,该地区拥有最大的进步潜力——极度缺乏准确数据。从1990年到2009年,只有一个撒哈拉以南国家拥有2000年千年发展目标(Millennium Development Goals)所制定的全部12项指标的数据。事实上,在关键统计数据完备的60个国家中,没有一个是非洲国家。尽管大部分非洲国家在过去十年中都经历了经济增长,但作为增长估算的基础的数据的准确性仍有较大差距,更不用说通货膨胀、粮食生产、教育和疫苗接种率等数据了。

失准的数据可能造成严重后果。以今年早些时候的尼日利亚为例,GDP重估表明该国经济比此前认为的要大近90%。此前的数据对尼日利亚经济的扭曲刻画可能导致私人投资、信用评级和税收等方面的决策不当。此外,这意味着尼日利亚获得了比它所应该获得的更多的国际援助——这些援助本可以用于更加需要的国家。

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