La revolución de datos que necesita África

WASHINGTON, DC – Desde la introducción del término “revolución de los datos”, se viene trabajando intensamente para definir, desarrollar e implementar una agenda que permita transformar la recolección, el uso y la distribución de estadísticas de desarrollo. Tiene sentido, ya que cualquiera sea el contenido de la próxima agenda internacional de desarrollo, será imposible evaluarla si no se cuenta con datos precisos.

Sin embargo, África subsahariana (la región con más potencial de progreso en los próximos Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible) adolece de una seria falta de datos precisos. En el período de 1990 a 2009, sólo uno de los países subsaharianos tiene datos para cada uno de los doce indicadores establecidos en 2000 por los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio. De hecho, de los sesenta países del mundo con estadísticas vitales completas, ninguno está en África. Aunque es probable que en la última década la mayoría de los países africanos hayan crecido económicamente, la exactitud de los datos en los que se basan las estimaciones de crecimiento (por no hablar de los datos referidos a inflación, producción de alimentos, educación y tasas de vacunación) dista de ser adecuada.

Esta imprecisión tiene serias consecuencias. Por ejemplo, hace algunos meses un nuevo cómputo del PIB de Nigeria demostró que su economía era casi 90% más grande de lo que se creía. Es probable que la imagen distorsionada producida por las estadísticas previas haya dado lugar a decisiones erróneas en inversión privada, calificación crediticia y cobro de impuestos, además de un exceso de asignación de ayuda internacional que podría haberse destinado a países más necesitados.

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