EconomyFact Check

Majority leader makes false claims about GDP growth rates among West African countries

Claim: Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has said that The Gambia is the only country in the ECOWAS sub-region to have recorded a higher GDP growth rate ahead of Ghana.

Verdict: This is incorrect. Data from the World Bank indicate that The Gambia is not the only country whose GDP growth rate was higher than Ghana’s in 2018. DUBAWA Ghana has found several others to have outperformed Ghana.

Full Text 

Parliament continues to debate the State of the Nation address, delivered on March 8, 2023, by the President of the Republic, Nana Akufo-Addo.

Both sides of the House have debated on various issues, including economic and infrastructure development. Whereas the Minority MPs insist that Ghana has seen retrogressive development since the commencement of the tenure of Akufo-Addo in 2017, the Majority MPs have opposed the assertion.

They insist that despite the local economy being affected by the global outbreak of COVID-19 and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the government has been able to ensure that the country records positive economic growth and has outperformed its predecessors in bringing development to citizens.

On Friday, March 17, 2023, when Parliament sat to continue the debate, it heard submissions from the leader of the Minority and that of the Majority side.

Majority leader and MP for Suame Constituency, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, made in his submission macroeconomic comparisons.

In one of such comparisons, he said that in 2018, Ghana recorded an economic growth rate of 6.2 per cent, higher than the ECOWAS average of 3.5 per cent. 

According to him, The Gambia was the only country to have achieved better than that.

“Mr Speaker, in 2018, the ECOWAS average GDP was 3.5 per cent. Ghana’s economy grew at 6.2 per cent. That performance was surpassed only by one country in the entire sub-region, and that was The Gambia which grew at 6.9 per cent,” Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said on the floor of Parliament.

The entire Parliament session was streamed on Facebook, and his claim can be found between minutes 1:57:13 to 1:57:33.


The West Africa Economic Outlook for 2019 report by the African Development Bank estimated that the sub-region had an economic growth rate of 3.3 per cent.

“In 2018, estimated real GDP growth for West Africa was 3.3 per cent, up from 2.7 per cent in 2017,” the report (Page 1).

Page 47 of the report gave the estimated growth rates of countries in the ECOWAS sub-region.

Although it quoted Ghana’s growth to have been 6.2 per cent, we observed that The Gambia’s estimated growth was 5.4 per cent. However, Burkina Faso and Senegal were estimated to have recorded an economic growth of  7.0 per cent in 2018. Côte d’Ivoire was estimated to have recorded the highest in the sub-region, growing at 7.4 per cent in 2018.

In the African Economic Outlook 2020 (Supplement) report by the African Development Bank, Ghana’s economic growth was quoted to be 6.3 per cent (Page 76). In contrast, The Gambia grew at 6.6 per cent (Page 75). The likes of Côte d’Ivoire (6.8 per cent – Page 67), Burkina Faso (6.8 per cent – Page 59), Senegal (6.4 per cent – Page 95), Niger (7.0 per cent – Page 91), and Benin (6.7 per cent – Page 57) were all found to have surpassed Ghana’s growth in 2018.

Data from the World Bank indicate that The Gambia is not the only country in the ECOWAS sub-region whose GDP growth in 2018 surpassed that of Ghana. Aside from Senegal, which also recorded a growth rate of 6.2%, we found five others that surpassed Ghana’s growth rate in 2018.

Source: World Bank


Even though the World Bank and the African Development Bank quote different growth rates for ECOWAS countries, data from the two credible institutions do not support the claim that The Gambia is the only country in the sub-region to surpass Ghana’s economic growth rate in 2018.

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