Some scholars have suggested looking at alternative measures. We could, for example, compile new estimates based on the ownership of goods such as television sets, fridges, and automobiles -- which imply that African economies have been growing three times faster than the official figures. We could even resort to proxy indicators, such as measuring growth from outer space. This entails using satellite imagery to capture changes in the intensity of artificial light over a country at night (measuring electricity consumption directly is not possible because of lack of data). The problem is that such corrections are inconclusive. Competing measures of the same phenomena yield contradictory results.
One of the most urgent challenges in African economic development is thus to devise a strategy for improving statistical capacity. The system currently causes more confusion than enlightenment, yet governments, international organizations, and independent analysts do need development statistics to track and monitor efforts at improving living conditions on the continent. It's unwise to proclaim that African economies are growing without better insight into the quality of the numbers.
In short, any evaluation of Africa's rise must begin and end with a careful evaluation of the growth and income evidence. Without such analysis, one runs the risk of reporting statistical fiction.