EconomyFact Check

False! Africa’s population is not 1.2b

Claim: Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, in addressing captains of business people, said Africa’s population is 1.2 billion. 

Verdict: False. Credible institutions, including Worldometer and AfCFTA, put Africa’s population between 1.3 – 1.4 billion, far more than the 1.2 billion suggested by the vice president.

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African Prosperity Network held its maiden edition of the African Prosperity Dialogue, dubbed the Kwahu summit, at Safari Valley Resort in Adukrom. The forum provided a platform for African Leaders and business captains to gather, share and expedite action on implementing initiatives under the African Free Trade Area.

The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, in an address at the event, said: 

“As growing economies, we often struggle to attract much-needed investments. However, with the collaborated strength from all fifty-five (55) member states, with a population of 1.2 billion, the majority of whom are young, and a GDP of US$ 2.5 trillion, making Africa the eighth (8th) largest economy in the world, this  positions Africa as an attractive investment destination.” This was reported on  

DUBAWA verified the assertion because Ghana is the host Secretariat for AfCFTA and has significantly promoted free trade in Africa. It is also important that only accurate data are shared.


The AfCFTA was launched at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Niamey – Niger, in July 2019. The commencement of trading under the AfCFTA was on January 1, 2021.

In an attempt to verify the claim by the vice president, DUBAWA went to the website of the

Africa Free Trade Areas, where the total population of Africa and her Gross Domestic  Product are stated in the first paragraph. 

“The AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area bringing together the 55 countries of the African Union (AU) and eight (8) Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The overall mandate of the AfCFTA is to create a single continental market with a population of about 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of approximately US$ 3.4 trillion. The AfCFTA is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, the African Union’s long-term development strategy for transforming the continent into a global powerhouse.”

A world bank research named The African Continental Free Trade Area: Economic and distributional effects indicate the population and GDP as follows:

“The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating. The pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion. It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.” 

The worldometer gives the current population of Africa as  1,423,317,269 as of Monday, January 30, 2023, based on the latest United Nations estimates. It further stated that Africa’s population is equivalent to 16.72% of the world’s population, which is 8 billion as of November 2022. 

On macrotrends, a website that provides global data, also puts the population of Africa at 1.4 billion in 2022, representing an increase of 2,37%. On the same website, the population of Africa was found to be 1.2 billion between 2015-2018 but has grown in the last six years.


It is clear from the above sources that the population of Africa will have outgrown 1.2 billion in 2023. The current population is hovering around 1.4 billion. 

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2023 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with KUUL 103.5 FM to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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