Rebutting the ‘Africa Rising’ meme
One of the most frequently repeated factoids supporting the Africa Rising meme was that “seven out of ten of the fastest growing economies are in Africa”, from a data exercise in 2011 by The Economist.
In reality this is both a far less accurate and much less impressive statistic than it sounds. Narratives on African economic development tend to be loosely connected to facts, and instead are driven more by hype.
Most of the time we simply do not know enough to assert accurate growth rates. There are also known biases and manipulations.
The evidence does not yet readily provide us with an answer. It is the job of scholars to give tempered assessments that navigate between what is make-believe and what passes as plausible evidence.