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Data on Africa

The World Bank

The World Bank - Economic Data

The World Bank .

Data on Sub-Saharan Africa

(+) Sub-national data from National Statistical Offices of African states.
(-) Confusing and not fully functioning interface for "open data" project.



African Development Bank (AfDB)

The World Bank - Economic Data

The African Development Bank collects national and sub-national level statistics on various topics, including population, economic development, health, etc.

(+) Sub-national data from National Statistical Offices of African states.
(-) Confusing and not fully functioning interface for "open data" project.



African Economic Outlook

African Economic Outlook

Website providing the latest African Economic Outlook report, with input from the African Development Bank, the OECD Development Centre, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Development Programme and a network of African think tanks.
In-depth analysis: Structural transformation and natural resources in Africa.

(+) Good compilation of recent data for 53 African economies. In-depth country profiles and analyses. Easy-to-use and nicely organized website.
(-) Most data tables show only a few years. Data would have been available in longer time-series from primary sources.



World Economic Forum: Africa Competitiveness Report

World Economic Forum

The Africa Competitiveness Report 2013 is the result of collaboration among the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

(+) Nice county-by-country competitive profiles with graphs.

(-) Interactive data analyzer is a confusing gadget. For serious work, it would be better to provide all data in EXCEL tables.



University of Groningen: African Sector Database

The Africa Sector Database (ASD) provides a long-run internationally comparable dataset for eleven Sub-Saharan African countries from 1960 onwards. Variables covered in the data set are annual series of value added, deflators, and persons employed (split by gender) for ten broad sectors of the economy. The Africa Sector Database is directly comparable to the GGDC 10-sector database for Asia and Latin America.




The Afrobarometer is an independent, nonpartisan research project that measures the social, political, and economic atmosphere in Africa.

Presently, Afrobarometer surveys are conducted in 35 African countries and are repeated on a regular cycle. Because the instrument asks a standard set of questions, countries can be systematically compared. Trends in public attitudes are tracked over time. Results are shared with decision makers, policy advocates, civic educators, journalists, researchers, donors and investors, as well as average Africans who wish to become more informed and active citizens.



UNCTAD: Economic Development in Africa

Established in 1964, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. It undertakes research, policy analysis and data collection for the debates of government representatives and experts.

Economic Development in Africa

(+) Solid analytical reports. Interesting report on trade and economic development in Africa.
(-) Statistics and data page badly organized. Slow website
(--) Statistical data download does not work. Dead links.



Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS)

Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS)

Financed by US-AID, the Demographic and Health Surveys are currently the most authoritative source for demographic and health-related data for Africa. The DHS program has collected, analyzed, and disseminated accurate and representative data on population, health, HIV, and nutrition through more than 300 surveys in over 90 countries.

(+) Essential information on demographic, social and health-related topics. One of the few data sources for infant, child and maternal mortality in Africa. Many countries have multiple surveys over time.
(-) Surveys in some countries may not be fully representative for rural areas and for certain population and age groups (women, migrant workers, very young children).



Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: FAOSTAT

The Food and Agriculture Organization has the most authoritative time-series and cross-sectional data relating to food, agriculture and hunger from 1961 to the most recent year.

(+) FAOSTAT provides essential information for comparative analyses on agriculture, food supply and hunger.
(-) Often slow website. Bulk download of data is not working well.
(--) Important statistics and analytical products have not been updated! Food Balance Sheets end in 2009.



International Household Survey Network (IHSN)

International Household Survey Network (IHSN)

The International Household Survey Network is a collection of meta-data from more than 1400 surveys and censuses. The mission of the IHSN is to improve the availability, accessibility, and quality of survey data within developing countries, and to encourage the analysis and use of this data.

(+) Large data catalog (metadata). Good to find the title of a particular survey.
(-) No on-line access to actual data - only meta-data.





Eldis is an online information service providing free access to research papers on international development issues. It includes over 30,000 summaries and links to free full-text documents.
Eldis is coordinated from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in Brighton, United Kingdom.

(+) Excellent background material and analytical reports. Direct on-line access to the documents - not just references! Nice and easy-to-use web interface.
(-) No data and statistics. Only the tables and charts in text documents.




Internet World Statistics

Internet-related statistics from Miniwatts marketing group. Website for international Internet usage statistics, e-commerce market research, inbound marketing news, travel stats, world telecommunications information.

(+) Internet usage statistics for all African countries.
(-) Private business. Independence cannot be assessed.





BuddeComm is an independent research and consultancy company, focusing on the telecommunications market and its role within the digital economy. We specialize in high-level strategic research and provide consultancy services to international agencies, governments and businesses.

(+) Detailed IT and internet statistics and reports
(-) Private business. Independence cannot be assessed. Data and reports are sold.



BSA / Economist Intelligence Unit: IT Industry Competitive Index


The IT Industry Competitiveness Index compares 66 countries on the extent to which they are capable of supporting a strong IT production sector. The Index and analysis as well as this site were created by the Economist Intelligence Unit for Business Software Alliance (BSA).

(+) Data freely available on website. Easy navigation and data download.
(-) Justification of ranking of IT infrastructure may not be shared by everyone (many countries in Northern Europe have much better coverage of high-speed internet access than the US, which is #1 in the index)



McKinsey & Company: What is driving Africa's growth?

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm. They publish their insights and those of external experts to provide leaders with facts on which to base business and policy decisions (according to their mission statement).

(+) Open-minded analyses that transcend pure economic reasoning.
(-) Original data sources are often poorly documented and recognized.
(--) Most analyses not openly available.





Statista Inc. is a statistics company on the internet with a team of over 60 statisticians, database experts, analysts, and editors, Statista provides users with an innovative and intuitive tool for researching quantitative data, statistics and related information. Their product is aimed at business clients and academics.

(+) Large collection of interesting (business-relevant) statistics. Some of these data are freely available.
(-) Most data are only available.
(--) Company sells data, which originate from UN statistics that are freely available, such as infant and child mortality estimates for Africa!


Map of African Undersea Cables

Map of Intra-Africa Fiber Networks


No IP tracking

Copyright 2014, 2015 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved.

Updated: 20 May 2015