Poor Quality of Data in Africa: What Are the Issues?

Abel Kinyondo, Riccardo Pelizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


One of the problems that scholars encounter when conducting research is that data from Africa are poor. Indeed, they either do not exist in a complete sense or they are not of good quality in the sense of lacking validity and reliability. Using various sources of available data on corruption and tourism, we show that lack of quality data in Africa not only limits the continent’s ability to generate a pertinent body of knowledge but also prevents analysts from generating the evidence that policy makers need to make proper decisions in influencing the development of the continent. We go on to argue that the problem of data quality in Africa is due to the lack of research culture rather than just scarcity of resources, as argued in the literature. It is in this context that we advocate for inculcation of research culture in Africa for development of the continent. Related Articles: Asongu, Simplice A., and Jacinta C. Nwachukwu. 2016. “Law, Politics, and the Quality of Government in Africa.” Politics & Policy 44 (5): 916-944. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12171. Pelizzo, Riccardo, and Abel Kinyondo. 2014. “Public Accounts Committees in Eastern and Southern Africa: A Comparative Analysis.” Politics & Policy 42 (1): 77-102. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12062. Pelizzo, Riccardo, and Zim Nwokora. 2016. “Bridging the Divide: Measuring Party System Change and Classifying Party Systems.” Politics & Policy 44 (6): 1017-1052. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12188. Related Media: University of Birmingham. 2013. “Morten Jerven: Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypGikIFf8LM. Afrobarometer. 2018. “Various Statistics.” https://www.afrobarometer.org/. Allafrica. 2018. “Current News.” https://allafrica.com/. Mo Ibrahim Foundation. 2018. “Current News on African Development.” https://mo.ibrahim.foundation/.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitics and Policy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Africa
  • Cross-Country Comparisons
  • Data Quality in Developing Countries
  • Data Unreliability
  • Empirical Research Methods in the Global South
  • Evidence-Based Policy Making
  • Falsifiability
  • Measuring Corruption
  • Political Legitimacy
  • Quantitative Methodology
  • Research Culture
  • Statistical Analyses in Africa
  • Testing Hypotheses in the Social Sciences
  • Tourism
  • Trust
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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