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False; Ghana is NOT the only sub-Saharan African country to record a positive GDP growth in 2020 as claimed by John Boadu

NPP General Secretary, John Boadu  Photo credit: peacefmonline.com 3 mins read

Claim: Ghana is the only country in sub-Saharan Africa to record a positive GDP growth in 2020, General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, John Boadu, has said.

False, according to figures from the World Bank and IMF, several countries in sub-Saharan Africa recorded a positive economic growth rate in 2020.

Full Text

On Friday, November 19, 2021, the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, John Boadu, was a panelist on the Kokrokoo morning show on Accra-based Peace FM 104.3 FM.

While on the show, Boadu made some arguments to encourage Ghanaians to accept the policies in the 2022 budget as presented by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

Whilst touting the government’s efforts in building a resilient economy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Boadu said that the economy of other countries did not perform as well as Ghana’s did.

“The economies of other countries couldn’t perform as well as ours did. The whole sub-Saharan African countries, none of them was able to pose a positive growth, none,” he told host Kwame Sefa Kayi. 

“Our 0.4% growth is better than a negative,” he continued.

A video in which his claim was made has been uploaded on Youtube on the Despite Media channel. The video has since attracted 739 videos.

The video has also been embedded in an online publication on www.peacefmonline.com while the show was live streamed on Facebook,  garnering 249 reactions, 112 comments and 8.7K views.

Screenshot of the video uploaded on Youtube

Verification

Economic growth is defined as the increase in the market value of goods and services produced by an economy over time. It is usually measured as a percentage rate of increase in the real gross domestic product (GDP).

The most comprehensive measure of overall economic performance is gross domestic product or GDP, which measures the “output” or total market value of goods and services produced in the domestic economy during a particular time period. 

A country’s economy can experience negative growth when its GDP reduces year over year.

In effect, when GDP goes up, the economy is generally said to be doing well.

Covid-19 and the Global Economy

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic greatly affected the economic growth of many countries.

The IMF estimated that the global economy will shrink by 4.4% in 2020.

The only major economy to grow in 2020 was China. It registered a growth of 2.3%.

Global trade is estimated to have fallen by 5.3% in 2020.

A June 2020 paper published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimated that COVID-19 will drag African economies into a fall of about 1.4% in GDP, with smaller economies facing contraction of up to 7.8%. 

According to the World Bank, economic growth in Western and Central Africa contracted by 1.1% in 2020. In East and Southern Africa, the growth contraction in 2020 is estimated at -3.

The Sub-Saharan Region

According to the United Nations Development Programme, there are 46 countries, including Ghana, in the sub-saharan region.

To ascertain the truth or otherwise of the claim, Dubawa referred to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund figures for the 2020 GDP growth of all 46 countries.

A total of 14 out of the 46 countries, had recorded a positive economic growth rate in 2020, according to data from the World Bank and the IMF.

Figures from varied sources such as La Banque Centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO), African Development Bank (AfDB), and Statista corroborate this.

CountryWorld BankIMFVaried sources
Benin3.8%3.8%3.8% (BCEAO)
Burkina Faso2.0%1.9%2.50% (BCEAO)
Central African Republic0.0%1%0.4% (AFDB)
Democratic Republic of Congo0.5%1.7%1.74% (Statista)
Côte D’Ivoire1.8%2%1.80% (BCEAO)
Ethiopia6.1%6.1%6.1% (AFDB)
Ghana0.4%0.4%0.4% (Ghana Finance Ministry)
Guinea7.0%7.1%5.2% (AFDB)
Malawi0.8%0.9%1.7% (AFDB)
Niger1.5%3.6%1.2% (BCEAO)
Sao Tome and Principe3.1%3%3% (Statista)
Senegal0.9%1.5%1.50 (BCEAO)
Tanzania2.0%4.8%4.8% Deloitte Tanzania
Togo1.8%1.8%1.80% (BCEAO)

Data from the World Bank indicated that Burundi, Cameroon, The Gambia, and Uganda recorded a positive economic growth in 2020. However, data from the IMF and Statista said otherwise.

CountryWorld BankIMFStatista
Burundi0.3%-1%-1.04%
Cameroon0.7%-1.5%-1.54% 
Gambia0.0%-0.2%-0.2%
Uganda2.9%-0.8%-0.84%

The World Bank indicated that East Africa’s Comoros recorded a 4.9% economic growth in 2020; however, the country’s data of their GDP growth rate is not available on the IMF website.

From the above, it is evident that Ghana was not the only country to have recorded positive growth in sub-saharan Africa in 2020.

Conclusion

Data from the World Bank and the IMF and other sources agree that 14 Sub-Saharan countries, including Ghana, had recorded a positive economic growth rate in 2020. 

The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party’s claim that Ghana is the only country in Sub-Saharan Africa to record a positive growth rate is false.

This report was produced under the Dubawa Student Fact-checking Project aimed at offering students in tertiary schools aspiring to take up roles in the profession the opportunity to acquire real-world experience through verification and fact-checking. 

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