How reliable are our GDP numbers?

From Zambian Economist Wed Dec 5 2012, 15:21:00

One of the questions we get often relates to Zambia's GDP. Recently someone asked : are the GDP growth figures a true reflection of Zambia's economic performance?

The simple answer is no because GDP has several limitations for a country such as ours.

First, GDP measures the value of output produced in Zambia. But only that which is officially recorded. It does not capture our large informal sector (believed to be around 40% - 60% of gross national income), where the bulk of transactions are not recorded. So countries which record transactions better will have higher GDP than Zambia but that does not mean our true national output is smaller.

Secondly, GDP does not take into account negative externalities. So if you produce more copper and you cause sickness to people around Kankoyo, they say GDP has increased. But that is only because we are not producing the 'right amount' of copper in a safe and humane way. The true cost of producing copper is not being included.

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse


You might also be interested in the following news stories:

Liberia:   Journalists Pile On to Bash Ebola-Fighting Doctor (analysis)
allAfrica.com
23 November 2014

This is a story about an American physician many in Liberia regard as a hero. It is about his volunteer group, called Heartt – Health Education and Relief through Teaching – which has ... [read more]

Tunisia:   Run-Off Likely in Presidential Polls (news)
African Elections Project
24 November 2014

Tunisia's elections on Sunday appears set for a runoff vote after exit polls suggests that neither interim president, Moncef Marzouki, nor the ex-premier, Beji Caid Essebsi - was likely to garner an ... [read more]

South Africa:   VP Ramaphosa Comes Under Spotlight (analysis)
African Arguments
23 November 2014

Oh the irony. In 1982, Cyril Ramaphosa, presided over the establishment of one of South Africa's largest trade unions, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Exactly thirty years later, Ramaphosa, ... [read more]



blogAfrica is allAfrica.com's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!