Not really. The facts are there. Data shows that key indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality, maternal health, education attainment, internet penetration and access to electricity etc. have improved. Despite the non-inclusive growth and hugely uneven wealth distribution, many countries have seen a modest rise in middle class population and disposable income comparatively despite population explosion.
Furthermore, the high commodity prices have been a factor of increased consumption both in Asia and also within Africa. Debt to GDP rates in many of these countries declined within this period as well, allowing many countries to undertake widespread economic reforms etc. Of course we can argue that there has been mismanagement in a lot of cases — like Nigeria , DRC — however, the revenues from this commodity boom has allowed many countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Angola, Ethiopia, Botswana etc. to fund critical infrastructural investments. Let’s not also forget that democracy has deepened steadily in many African countries.
Yes, a lot more couldn’t have been achieved with better management and much more is still needed to sustain deepen inclusive growth; but comparatively, African nations have made progress in the last decade.
Overall it is important to keep in mind that the economy is always in a cycle — growth has a lifespan and will always be a consequence of certain socioeconomic factors/realities. Thus even though the “Africa Rising Narrative” may have been over exaggerated/sensationalized, it is not completely off the mark. The global economy has hit a snag and African nations just like many other advanced economies are feeling the pinch, but for once in nearly 40 years, the signs of progress in Africa started to look realistic during the period we speak about.