Adequate programming can take place without a completely detailed picture and, even in the least developed of countries, some data is always available. In a development project, it is necessary to determine the extent of the gap between the set of data required and the set of data actually available in the economy. The practical definition of the 'data gap' for any country depends essentially, therefore, on the planning methodology used and the planning targets set. If, for example, a simple methodology were considered adequate, existing data might also be considered sufficient, whereas a 'data gap' would arise should more complex and sophisticated planning methods be contemplated.
2. High military budgets, weak administration, corruption, debt, declining aid levels, unfair terms of trade and closed markets are all important drags on development. But the lack of statistics is different. It mists over everything. Myth can defeat reality, as in the case of common belief that the skeletal and unclean African child represents the child malnutrition problem; important disparities are hidden, the lack of more detailed national statistics disguising the real inequalities between urban and rural, majority and minority and rich and poor; good examples are not duplicated, as in the largely uncredited but spectacular success of the attack on measles in a number of Third World countries.