Given shortcomings in basic data collection and insufficient resources in preparing official statistics African growth data are unlikely to be very reliable. Estimates of an annual growth rate of 3 per cent may be consistent with a reality between 0 and 6 per cent growth. Although data from international databases are widely used in an expanding literature on African growth there has been no research into how serious these data inaccuracies are. This paper addresses the reliability of the available growth evidence for a selection of countries and offers concrete measures of inaccuracies. It examines the reasons for discrepancies and shows that they can be quite large.