In Africa, a lack of reliable and timely macroeconomic data has been a steady source of frustration for investors and policymakers. While some African countries provide a number of economic indicators, including their GDP, they tend to delay the release of this information.
Satellite imagery offers one possible solution to this vexing issue. For instance, images of nighttime light intensity can serve as proxies for headline economic growth. Nightlight indexes can be applied to emerging economies to gain insight into economic growth and expanding cities in developing countries.
The SpaceKnow African Night Light Index (ANLI) uses nighttime light intensity to produce economic growth estimates for 27 countries across the continent. Launched in 2017, ANLI provides reliable, independent data on African countries for benchmarking and decision-making purposes. This recent case study provides a brief overview of night light indexes and their relationships with socio-economic activity in three African countries.