Dr Bawumia

  • PART 2: #BawumiaSpeaks: More False Claims Found in Vice President Dr Bawumia’s Digitization Speech

    On November 2, 2021, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia delivered a public lecture on the digital economy of the country at Ashesi University. The public lecture, dubbed #BawumiaSpeaks, also had an interactive session with students and invited guests on how ‘digitization’ is transforming the economy and positioning Ghana for the emerging global digital revolution.

    Dubawa verified a number of claims made by the Vice President and identified a mix of true, false and mostly false claims in part one of our report.

    Similar findings were made in Part 2 of our fact-check of the Vice President’s speech.

    Claim 1: Ghana currently has the largest medical drone delivery service in the world

    There is not enough evidence to give precise data on the volume of service that Ghana provides compared to other countries, even though it has been reported by various outlets that it is the largest medical drone delivery service in the world. 

    Fact-checker: Kennedy Twumasi

    Verification

    According to the World Record Academy, the world’s largest record certifying organization, Ghana is currently the World’s largest medical drone delivery service.

    The Co-founder of Zipline, Keller Rinaudo, is also quoted in a report by CNBC, a business and financial news network, that in 2019, it completed about 4,000 lifesaving emergency deliveries but the launch of Zipline in Ghana in 2019 is about 20 times the scale of that. This gives a fair idea of the capacity of the service in Ghana.

    “In the last year, we completed roughly 4,000 lifesaving emergency deliveries, but what we’re launching in Ghana is about 20 times the scale of that,” said Zipline’s Rinaudo, who adds that the company currently serves 25 facilities in Rwanda and is on track to serve nearly 2,000 facilities in Ghana by the end of the year.

    Also, The Head of Communication of Zipline, Justine Hamilton, in an interview with Joy News in 2019 during the launch of Zipline said it “will be rolling out all four basins, and ultimately it will be serving over 2,000 clinics and up to 12 million people in Ghana”.

    Claim 2: We engaged Google last year and they have agreed to integrate our digital address system (house number, street names, and digital address) into Google Maps. We are hoping to complete the integration by the end of the year. This will be the first such integration of a country’s digital property address system into Google Maps that I am aware of

    Fact-checker: Maxine Gloria Danso

    Verification

    It was announced on the official Instagram account of the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office on 11 October 2021 that in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi now has 200,000 building addresses in Google Maps. This is reported to be part of the emirate’s Onwani unified addressing system by the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport. 

    The post adds that more than 19,000 street names have been created with their navigation systems also accessible on Google Maps.

    Source: Abu Dhabi Media Office Instagram

    UAE launched this ahead of Ghana and will not make Ghana the first country to integrate digital address systems into Google Maps when it is finally launched by the end of 2021. 

    Furthermore, beyond being any country’s initiative or having exclusivity, in 2020, Google introduced a feature known as Plus Codes – a free, open-source digital address-making system – that enables everyone in the world to have access to a digital address searchable in Google Maps. This even includes places where there are no digital addresses or street names or even streets that currently exist. 

    “The Plus Codes use latitude and longitude to produce a short, easy-to-share digital address that can represent any location on the planet. For example, the Plus Code “W2GJ+JQ, Johannesburg” represents the main entrance to the Google office in Johannesburg, South Africa. Put this code into Google Maps or Google Search and you’ll be brought right to our front door in Johannesburg,” Google explains

    Google further details how anyone can generate their own digital address to be searched in Google Maps here

    Claim 3: Ghana is the first country that I know of in Africa to implement a Universal QR Code payment system that accommodates both bank accounts and mobile wallets.

    A number of foreign reports show that Ghana’s launch of a QR Universal Code in March 2020 makes her the first African country with this initiative. 

    Fact-checker: Maxine Gloria Danso

    Verification

    In March 2020, the Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia launched Ghana’s Universal QR Code and Proxy Pay System in Accra, which was at the time argued to be the first of its kind on the African continent. 

    According to a report by FinTech Futures in October 2020, Ghana is the first African country to harmonise a QR Code payment system that allows for payments to be made through bank accounts, mobile wallets, and cards.

    This is corroborated with another report by QR Code Tiger which lists how African countries are integrating QR Codes in a diverse number of sectoral services. 

    “Due to the vagaries of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana’s central bank has launched a universal QR code payment solution with HPS or (Hightech Payment Systems) just last year, making it the first African country to introduce a universal QR code system,” the report reads

    On a global front, a report by Global Government Forum published in September 2019 shows that countries such as Singapore, Saudi Arabia, India, and China launched theirs before Ghana. 

    However, the QR Codes of these countries mainly facilitate e-payment for bank transactions (except China which also has mobile money payment) whereas Ghana is among the few African countries with a bank and mobile money payment system initiatives. 

    QR Codes stand for Quick Responses Codes. It provides customers and merchants the convenience and safety to simply use their smartphones to scan the QR code and make electronic payments from their bank accounts, debit cards, and mobile money wallets. This initiative facilitates electronic payment among small-scale and large-scale businesses where merchants can instantly receive payments through a static or dynamic QR code. 

    Claim 4: Inflation reduced from 15% to near single digits over the last five years

    Figures from the World Bank, Ghana Statistical Service, and Statista points to Ghana’s inflation rate moving from double digits in 2015 to single digit in 2020.

    Fact-checker: Jeffrey Nyabor

    Verification:

    According to the IMF, inflation measures how much more expensive a set of goods and services has become over a certain period, usually a year.

    The most well-known indicator of inflation is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the percentage change in the price of a basket of goods and services consumed by households.

    To verify the claim by the Vice-President, we refer to figures from the  World Bank, Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the Ministry of Finance, and Statista from 2015 to 2020.

    YearWorld BankGSSMinistry of FinanceStatista
    201517.15%17.7% (December)17.4% (October) 2016 budget17.15%
    201617.455%15.4% (December)15.4% (2017 budget)17.44%
    201711.7%11.8% (December)11.8% (December) 2019 budget12.37%
    20180.407%9.4% (December)9.8% (September) 2019 budget9.84%
    20197.176%7.9% (December)7.9% (December) 2021 budget7.14%
    20209.953%10.4% (December)11.4% (July) 2021 budget9.953%
    2021N/A9.7% (August)N/A9.28% ***

    Figures from all four institutions concerning Ghana’s inflation rate indicate that Ghana recorded a double-digit (about 17.0+%) inflation in 2015, 2016, and 2017 but has since dropped to single digits since 2018.

    According to figures from the World Bank and Statista, Ghana’s inflation rate for 2020 had hit 9.9%, making it single-digit inflation.

    Also, Ghana’s inflation rate as of December 2020, according to figures from the Ghana Statistical Service is 10.4%, which qualifies to be near single-digit inflation as described by the Vice-President.

    Claim 5: Recorded positive trade balance in successive years; best in more than a decade 

    Figures from the World Bank, IMF, Bank of Ghana, and the Finance Ministry do not support this assertion by the Vice-President.

    Fact-checker: Jeffrey Nyabor

    Verification

    According to the Corporate Finance Institute, Trade Balance, also known as balance of trade (BOT), refers to the difference between the monetary value of a country’s imports and exports over a given time period.

    Balance of Trade is declared as positive when there is trade surplus; that is when the monetary value for exports is greater than the monetary value for imports.

    However, when the monetary value for exports is less than the monetary value for imports, then there is a trade deficit, also known as a negative trade balance.

    To establish a country’s Balance of Trade, one would have to look at the country’s current account – which is one of the components of a country’s Balance of Payments.

    It is the current account that represents a country’s imports and exports of goods and services, payments made to foreign investors, and transfers such as foreign aid.

    The claim by the Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, suggests that Ghana’s exports have exceeded its imports in successive years over the past five years.

    To verify the claim by the Vice-President, we will refer to figures from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bank of Ghana, and the Ministry of Finance from 2005 to 2020.

    YearBank of Ghana(millions of US$)World BankIMF (millions of US$)Ministry of Finance(millions of US$)
    2005-773.41-1.105 billion-1,104.6– 811.6 (Appendix 10, 2007 budget) but -1,104.60 in 2009 budget
    2006-1,040.19-1.056 billion-1,056.1-812.67 (Appendix 15, 2008 budget) but -1,042.70 in 2009 budget
    2007-2,201.48-2.379 billion-2,378.8-2,151.50 (Appendix 15, 2009 budget)
    2008-3,543.14-3.327 billion-3,327.4-3,473.50 (Appendix 15, 2009 budget)
    2009-1,600.75-1.897 billion-1,897.2-1,687.71 (Appendix 12, 2012 budget)
    2010-2,769.67-2.747 billion-2,747.3-2.700.48 (Appendix 12, 2012 budget)
    2011-3,541.33-3.541 billion-3,541.3-3,541.4 (Appendix 11, 2013 budget)
    2012-4,910.64-4.912 billion-4,911.7-4,911 billion (Appendix 8, 2016 budget)
    2013-5,704.03-5.704 billion-5,704.0-5,704 (Appendix 8, 2016 budget)
    2014-3,694.47-3.695 billion-3,694.6-3,694 (Appendix 8, 2016 budget)
    2015-2,823.75-2.824 billion-2,823.6-2,845 (Appendix 9A, 2017 budget)
    2016-2,840.49-2.832 billion-2,832.02,832 (Appendix 9B, 2018 budget)
    2017-2,003.09-2.003 billion-2,0026-2.003 billion (Appendix 8C, 2021 budget)
    2018-2,043.90-2.045 billion-2,0446-2,043.6 (Appendix 11C, 2020 Budget)
    2019-1,863.97-1.864 billion-1,864.0-1,864 (Appendix 8C, 2021 budget)
    2020-2,134.97N/A-2,134.0-2,014 [Provisional] (Appendix 8C, 2021 budget)  

    Evidently, Ghana has not recorded a positive balance of trade in successive years, at least since 2005.

    In fact, according to World Bank figures, Ghana last recorded a positive balance of trade in 1980.

    Claim 6: Ghana is the first country in Africa to implement a digital system in combination with house numbers and street names. 

    In 2016, Ivory Coast adopted and implemented the Digital Addressing System, What3words, which generates accurate and fixed addresses.

    Fact-checker: Baraka Issahaku

    Verification:

    Ghana, in 2017 under the NPP government introduced the Digital Address System in collaboration with GhanaPost. Ivory Coast in 2016, adopted the What3words digital addressing system as an addressing standard for La Poste, the Côte d’Ivoire’s national postal system, which gave even rural communities official addresses.

    In a report by CNET and CNN in 2016 and 2017 respectively, a combination of just three words allows every location within 3m by 3m squares to be identified. At the time of writing the report, however, BBC reported that there was a challenge of people accessing their digital addresses because not every Ivorian owns a mobile phone with Internet access.

    What3words is a startup based in London. The application records GPS coordinates to nine-square-meter plots and simplifies them into a three-word combination to identify specific locations. It has been described as a lifesaver by British police.

    Does What3words Application generate street addresses?

    In order to ascertain the street addressing feature of the application, we downloaded, installed, and ran it. 

    The application can be found on the Google play store for Android users. After installation, what3words works with the location and thus needs permission to activate it. The application puts every location into 3m by 3m squares and therefore has every location under its radar, allowing it to generate street addresses as well. However, the application states that street names may not always point to the precise location. 

    Nonetheless, the application has the satellite view option which allows viewers to see exactly what the location looks like.

    Image: Screenshot from What3words Application

    The application also allows viewers to navigate by using transportation apps like Uber, Bolt, among others. Additionally, specific locations can be shared with others, using the map view or satellite view option.

    Images: Screenshots from What3words

    Ivory Coast adopted and implemented this technology in 2016, indicating that they are far ahead of Ghana in the digitization of addresses in Africa.

  • Fact-check: Dr Bawumia’s 15 million mobile money users claim, others checked

    The Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, while addressing the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) third town hall meeting and results fair in Accra, made a number of claims regarding mobile money interoperability and the gains made with its introduction.

    Among other things, Dr Bawumia said Ghana has become the fastest growing mobile money market in Africa owing to the operationalization of mobile money interoperability and that, 15 million people in the country have mobile money accounts as a result.

    “Thanks to mobile money interoperability, Ghana is now the fastest growing mobile money market in Africa. Mobile money transactions now dwarf banking transactions. The total number of transactions recorded under mobile money as of December 2019 was 200 million whereas that of banks was 599,000 (just about 3% of the mobile money number). Over 15 million people have mobile money accounts in Ghana!” the Vice President said.

    We fact-checked three claims from the above statements and report as follows:

    Claim 1: “Thanks to mobile money interoperability, Ghana is now the fastest growing mobile money market in Africa.” – Dr Bawumia

    Verdict: True

    Mobile Money Interoperability is a service that allows direct and seamless transfer of funds from one mobile money wallet to another mobile money wallet across networks. It was launched in May 2018 by the Vice President Dr Bawumia in Accra.

    According to the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS) which manages the system, the interoperability platform was used 5.12 million times between January and March 2020, up from 1.1 million times reported in the first quarter of 2019.

    press release by the World Bank on June 14, 2019, indicates the interoperability system has ensured “growth in the number of financial access points over the past five years” despite the challenges in making the economy financially inclusive.

    The World Bank in its 4th edition of the Ghana Economic Update, the latest report, published on June 1, 2019, and related to the above observation, rated Ghana as being the fastest growing Mobile Money market in Africa.

    “Mobile phone penetration has created opportunities for the expansion of financial services and increased the role of non-financial institutions as much as e-money issuers, positioning Ghana as the fastest growing mobile money market in Africa,” excerpts of the report reads.

    Claim 2: Mobile money transactions now dwarf banking transactions

    Verdict: True

    The Bank of Ghana which regulates the banking sector in the country released a report on the country’s financial and economic performance for December 2019.

    In the document, the data captured financial transactions for the period of December 2018 to December 2019.

    The total number of mobile money transactions for December 2019, per the report, was 200 million with a value of GH¢ 32.8 billion.

    The total number of cheques cleared for December 2019 was 599,000, as stated by the Vice President.

    Other data in the document included ACH Debit which recorded 73,000 transactions while ACH credit transactions were 772,000 transactions.

    The number of E-zwich transactions was also 982,000.

    Source: Bank of Ghana

    Per the data, we notice that the 599,000 figure quoted by the Vice President was specific to the number of cheques cleared.

    In providing education on whether clearance of cheques alone represents the meaning of banking transactions, a banking consultant, Nana OtuoAcheampong said there were various types of banking transactions including clearance of cheques.

    In reference to the claim, he indicated that ACH credit and ACH debit as reported in the Bank of Ghana’s statement “are banking transactions.”

    “Unless in his speech he tried to differentiate between the types of banking transactions… Maybe he took the cheque clearing segment only but globally, it is not the only transaction that a bank can undertake.” Nana OtuoAcheampong explained.

    On what the ACH credit and ACH debit system was, he said they were interbank transactions that had to do with the debiting one’s account and crediting another’s account upon the instruction of the payee.

    “If I give instructions to my bank and ask them to make payment to you, I haven’t signed a cheque but through ACH, they are able to do the clearing,” he said.

    However, we find that in whichever way we look at it, mobile money transactions dwarf banking transactions.

    Claim 3: Over 15 million people have mobile money accounts in Ghana

    Verdict: Insufficient evidence

    This is not the first time the Vice President has made this claim. An opposition Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George, has much earlier publicly challenged it.

    To look into this claim, we accessed the Bank of Ghana’s latest Summary of Economic and Financial Data; for May 2020.

    In the report, we found information on the number of registered Mobile Money accounts as well as the number of active Mobile Money accounts from March 2019 to March 2020.

    The data for both periods and the two categories are represented in the table below:

    March 2019March 2020
    Registered mobile money accounts29.6 million34.3 million
    Active mobile money accounts12.7 million14.8 million

    From the table above, we gather that Ghana’s Vice President was making reference to the number of active mobile money accounts, 14.8 million as of March 2020 (15 million approximately) in his speech.

    Relying on data for the number of active mobile money accounts to make a case for the number of users may appear misleading, which is the position of Sam George in his argument.

    Indeed, with the number of registered mobile money accounts far exceeding Ghana’s estimated population, it will only be reasonable to assume that some people in Ghana use more than one mobile phone or numbers and possibly have two or more active mobile money accounts.

    According to the Ghana Telecommunications Chamber, the number of mobile voice subscriptions in Ghana is over 41 million. But this number far exceeds the country’s estimated population of 30.9 million which also makes a good case about some users having multiple accounts.

    The above notwithstanding, it is important to note that getting the actual number of users will require a lot more work including mobile networks collaborating to de-duplicate their data.

    This may not entirely solve the problem because according to Dr William Derban, the founder of the Forum for Financial Inclusion Africa, a critical mass such as persons who do have personal mobile money accounts but conduct MoMo transactions through merchants over the counter may still not be accounted for.

    “People using mobile money is not the same as registered accounts [but] some people can use mobile money over the counter to receive money and are not counted by this definition,” he said.

    “While the GSMA [Global System for Mobile Communications] is an authority in this, it could be that a country may have its own definition that they use,” he added.

    However, Dr Derban, while focusing on financial inclusion, said “[it] is more than just access to accounts (bank or mobile). It is more about the number of people who use it and most importantly, how they can use financial services to improve their lives. Can they save, can they borrow, do people have the right level of financial and digital skills to make informed decisions about their finances? Are they protected? These are areas that we need to look into carefully to ensure that the growth in access to finance via mobile money has the maximum impact on our people.”

    While it appears most appropriate to make reference to mobile money accounts rather than mobile money users, industry players sometimes use both interchangeably, owing to the complexity involved in deriving the exact number of mobile money users in most populations.

    …..

    The reporter, produced this fact-check under the auspices of the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship in partnership with Citinewsroom to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and to enhance media literacy in the country.

  • Dr Bawumia on Mobile Money Interoperability: Two Claims Rated False

    During a one-on-one interview on Peace Fm’s Kokrooko on August 25th, 2020 between 54:56 to 55:06 minutes into the interview, the Vice President, Mahamadu Bawumia, made some claims about mobile money interoperability in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

    The Vice president stated emphatically that,

    “But the other part of it is that you have made the bank account and the mobile money wallet interoperable. So you can move money between the bank account and the mobile money wallet and vice versa and you can also do the same with the E-Zwich account. So triangular interoperability is what we have done. And Kwame this is the first country in Africa to do so. There is no other country in Africa that has been able to deliver mobile money interoperability.”

    During the interview, viewers and listeners contested the statement citing Kenya as a country that had also adopted mobile money interoperability.

    A video of the interview has been uploaded on Youtube.

    We look at the two claims made by Bawaumia: first, “there is no other country in Africa that has been able to deliver mobile money interoperability” and second, that Ghana is the only country in Africa to implement interoperability between bank account and mobile money wallets.

    What is mobile money operability?

    This is a service that allows direct and seamless transfer of money from one mobile money wallet to another across networks.

    Over time, this has grown to include integration in broader payment infrastructures, connecting a variety of financial services providers.

    In this regard, there is a move from restricted transactions between just mobile money providers (MMPs) and one that offers the added opportunity for transfers or transactions between  two accounts, like MMPs and a bank.

    According to the report published by GSMA, 

    “Of the 95 markets where mobile money services are live, 48 have interoperability with either a bank or MMPs…On average, mobile money providers with bank integrations are connected to 13 banks.”

    Claim 1: No country in Africa has been able to deliver mobile money interoperability.

    Verdict: Ghana is not the only country to adopt and deliver on money interoperability. 

    Dubawa ran an online check for African countries who have functioning mobile money interoperability and found that many African countries, for instance, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and others have adopted and implemented the mobile money interoperability. 

    Quartz Africa in 2018 reported Tanzania to be the leading country in delivering interoperability. However, this level of operability is limited to Mobile money providers.

    “Indeed, there’s precedent in Tanzania, the first African country to adopt interoperability, where there has been increased transactions among users. It’s a measure that’s also been adopted in Kenya and Ghana,” the report reads.

    On June 4th, 2014, The East African also published a report on Tanzania being the first African country to implement the interoperability system. 

    Further search also led to GSM Association, an organisation that represents the interest of mobile network operators worldwide.

    GSMA released a report titled “Tracking the journey towards mobile money interoperability Emerging evidence from six markets: Tanzania, Pakistan, Madagascar, Ghana, Jordan and Uganda” in June 2020.

    The report was based on  a study using a mixed-method analysis  which included 32 key informant interviews, both remote and in-country, as well as desk research and field interviews conducted between December 2019 and February 2020. 

    It provides detailed insight into the state of mobile money operability in the selected countries and some limited information on others. See below.

    Image source: GSMA

    Claim 2: “There is no interoperability between bank account and the mobile money wallet anywhere in Africa…”

    Verdict: Other countries, Tanzania for instance, have mobile money wallet to bank account  interoperability which has been and is currently in use.

    Dr Bawumia in responding to the host’s comment that other countries, including Kenya, have implemented interoperability said Ghana is the only African country to implement interoperability with banks inclusive (1:38:30 to 1:39:48).

    This claim is false. Dubawa found information available that points to the fact that other African countries, for instance Tanzania, have mobile money wallet to bank account transfer services available. 

    Tanzania has platforms that link and allow funds transfer from mobile wallet to bank accounts and even to wallets and accounts outside their country. In some cases, aggregators serve as a link between these accounts. Selcom, Craftsilicon or Cellantis are examples of such platforms that enable such transfers.

    Dubawa further spoke to Victor Makere, Head of Digital Banking, Standard Chartered Bank, Tanzania, who explained that indeed mobile money wallet to bank account transfers are done in Tanzania in two ways. 

    The first way (Direct Integration between Mobile Network Operator and Bank) requires the bank to have a wallet with the mobile network provider. The second option is similar but between the bank account  and MNO there is an aggregator.”

    This was corroborated in another conversation with Emmanuel Mwinuka, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Absa Tanzania. He explained that mobile money wallet to bank account interoperability is functional in Tanzania. 

    He further indicated that there is a plan to launch a project called “Tanzania Instant Payment System (TIPS)” which will create a platform that supports instant centralised settlement between MNOs and bank accounts, bank accounts and MNOs and MNOs to other MNOs. This project will eventually fade out the existing interoperability systems that are in place, promoting ease. 

    Based only on the statement made by the vice president, this claim is false.

    Conclusion

    Ghana is not the first or only country to deliver on mobile money interoperability. It is also not the only African country to implement triangular interoperability.

  • Vice President Bawumia and his three famous claims

    Ghana’s Vice President, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia on Tuesday, August 19, 2020, made a presentation to highlight infrastructural projects undertaken by the President Akufo-Addo government at a town hall meeting. 

    At the event, he made a number of claims to suggest the government’s superior record compared to the record of the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by President John Mahama.

    Three of the claims have been fact-checked below: 

    Claim 1: Pokuase Interchange is the first 4-Tier interchange in West Africa.

    Verdict: True

    Dr Bawumia in his speech said the Pokuase interchange project, whose contract was signed by the John Mahama government in 2016 for a three-tier interchange, was renegotiated by the Akufo-Addo government to be a four-tier interchange. He said the interchange has effectively become the first of its kind in West Africa.

    “We have the Pokuase interchange. This is a four-tier interchange in West Africa. It’s the first four-tier interchange in West Africa. The first. The loan agreement for this project was signed in November 2016 for a 3-tier interchange, when we came into force, we looked at it from a value for money perspective, renegotiated it for a four-tier interchange for the same amount of money,” he said. 

    Given the scope of the claim, Dubawa Ghana restricted its search to the top five countries in West Africa with significant infrastructural development on the African Development Bank’s 2019 Africa Infrastructure Development Index. 

    The top five countries are: Cabo Verde, Gambia, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria.

    In Cabo Verde, we found no evidence of a four-tier interchange. 

    From The Gambia’s Ministry of Transport Works and Infrastructure, we confirmed that there is no 4-tier interchange in that country. 

    In Senegal, like Nigeria, although there are a number of interchanges, especially in Nigeria, none of them is four-tier.  

    In Ivory Coast as well, we found no four-level interchange although a number of major highways development projects have been initiated with funding from the African Development Bank.   

    After extensive exact Google searches, we did not find any evidence of a four-tier interchange in any other part of West Africa. 

    In another part of Africa, we, however, found a four-tier interchange in South Africa. The interchange is the EB Cloete Interchange near Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal province. 

    Based on the currently available evidence indicated above, we rate the claim that the Pokuase interchange is the first four-tier interchange in West Africa as true. 

    Claim 2: The cost of four interchanges being undertaken by the NPP government nearly equals the cost of one interchange constructed by the NDC government

    Verdict: Misleading

    The Vice President, in comparing the value-for-money ensured by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to what the NDC government did, said the cost of four interchanges Tema, Pokuase, Tamale, and Obetsebi Lamptey interchanges cost $289 million while the Kwame Nkrumah Circle interchange alone cost $260 million. 

    “Ladies and gentlemen, It is important to note that the cost of the Tema, Pokuase, Tamale, and Obetsebi Lamptey interchanges total $289 million while the Kwame Nkrumah interchange was constructed at a cost of $260 million,” Bawumia said. 

    To verify this claim, we highlight below the cost of the various projects in question and their scopes and analyse them subsequently. 

    Kwame Nkrumah interchange

    In 2013, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government awarded a contract to Brazilian firm, Queiroz Galvao Construcao, for the design and construction of an interchange at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra. It was worth €74.8 million ($100 million) and parliamentary approval was duly granted it in 2012. 

    Another project which was a flyover to be constructed on the Ring Road leading to Kwame Nkrumah Circle by the same Brazilian contractor was approved at a cost of $170 million. 

    Both projects amounted to $270 million. 

    The Kwame Nkrumah interchange’s scope includes engineering design, the construction of the interchange, the construction of a road-over-rail bridge, improvement of the intersection of the Ring Road at the Feo Eyeo Road, and improvement of road drainage works.

    For the Ringroad flyover, the scope, as captured in the report of the Parliamentary select committee on roads is as follows, C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\Capture1.JPG

    Tamale interchange

    On April 10, 2019, President Akufo-Addo cut sod for construction work to begin on the Tamale interchange project which is being executed under the $2 billion China Synohydro deal. 

    According to a report by the Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament, the original project cost is $35 million. However, the cost including deferred payment amounts to $46 million. 

    “The scope of work includes bridge/ramps and slip roads as well as a carriageway of a width of 7 meters with a 2×2 number of lanes,” the report indicates. 

    Obetsebi Lamptey interchanges

    The Obetsebi Lamptey interchanges project was commenced in 2019 after President Akufo-Addo broke the grounds for work to start in October. 

    The project report by Parliament’s roads and transport committee showed that it is to cost €87 million ($135 million). The three-tier interchange is to have an East-West flyover and another flyover on the Ring Road West.

    C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\scop1.JPG

    Pokuase interchange

    The Government of Ghana secured funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the construction of the 3-tier Pokuase interchange in Accra at a cost of $94 million. 

    AfDB was to provide about $83million of the funds while the Government of Ghana provided $11.7million. The project, which is being executed by Zhongmei Engineering Group Limited under the Accra Urban Transport Project (AUTP), began in 2018.  

    The interchange was later redesigned into a 4-tier interchange.   

    The scope of the project includes 4-Tier Stack Interchange at Pokuase as well as the Construction of Storm Drains. There will also be the construction of 10km of Local Roads, construction of 6.6 km of Awoshie-Pokuase-Kwabenya Road, the widening of 2.0 km of Accra-Kumasi Road, provision of pedestrian facilities including walkways, footbridges, signalized crossings, Streetlights, and free health screening exercises for communities within the project catchment.

    Tema interchange

    Vice President Dr Mahamadu Bawumia in July 2018 cut sod for the construction of the Tema interchange. 

    The project cost is $57 million and was funded by the Japanese government through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

    The first phase of the project has been completed.

    The project involved the conversion of the Tema motorway roundabout into an interchange and extended for some 500 metres from the roundabout to the Ashaiman Timber Market Roundabout, 400 metres along the Aflao road, 300 metres towards the Tema Harbour and about 300 metres to join the main Tema-Accra Motorway. 

    The second phase of the project, which is the construction of a tiered flyover including detailed design and construction supervision, is yet to be completed.

    PROJECTCOST (US$ million)PROJECTCOST (US$ million)
    Kwame Nkrumah Circle interchange
    270Tamale interchange35
    Pokuase interchange
    94
    Obetsebi Lamptey interchange
    135
    Tema interchange
    57
    TOTAL270
    321
    TOTAL
    270321

    The sum of all four projects by the NPP government is $321 million, according to documentary evidence we found, contrary to the $280 million claimed by Dr Bawumia.  

    We found it to be true that the single Kwame Nkrumah interchange project cost about two-thirds of the sum of the Tamale, Pokuase, Obetsebi Lamptey and Tema interchange project costs. 

    However, drawing a conclusion based on the project cost alone to make claims of no value for money ignores other critical information such as the scope of the projects in question. 

    A civil engineer, Abdulai Mahama, says there are many elements that go into the cost of construction projects hence it is unfair to compare similar projects solely based on contract sums.

    “You can never be fair with that analysis. When you are dealing with a road construction, [and you are constructing] a 1 kilometer road from for instance from Circle towards Nima police station, and you are doing the same 1 kilometer from Circle to Alajo, the cost will vary especially because of the nature of the soil and the built environment.”

    He cites depth of excavation, type of soil, built environment; demolishing and compensations, and materials used as some critical factors that affect the cost of construction projects. 

    “For some of the soil nature, when you are supposed to improve upon their stability, it can cost about 30 percent of the total cost of the project so if Tamale Interchange is on a very firm ground and Circle due to floods is on an unsuitable ground, the costs will differ,” he says. 

    From the above information, the scope of each project varies and will need to be assessed in detail to be able to make a fair comparison and definite conclusion on claims of no value for money.

    We, therefore, rate this claim as misleading. 

    Claim 3: No government has achieved in its first term in office what the Akufo-Addo government has achieved in the area of infrastructure in its first term.  

    Verdict: Over generalised and non-contextual.

    The Vice President after highlighting the various projects initiated by the Akufo-Addo government in different sectors including health, agriculture, education and sports, said his government’s achievement is incomparable to what has been achieved under all other governments in the fourth republic. 

    “Ladies and Gentlemen, notwithstanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the completion times of some projects, the data indicates that in the fourth republic, no government that has achieved as much in its first term of office in terms of infrastructure projects it initiated its first term as the NPP government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,” Dr Bawumia said. 

    The spokesperson for the Vice President, Dr Gideon Boako in clarifying the claim during an interview on Citi TV’s Point of View on Wednesday 19, 2020, said the claim was made without direct comparison to any specific government

    “We have put out what we think represents the superior records of any government in the first term. If there is any previous government or anybody that feels that what we are saying is not true and in comparative terms stands a better position to produce results that appears more convincing and robust than the argument we are making, we welcome it and we want that to be shown so that the Ghanaian people can also see,” he said. 

    Ghana’s fourth republic commenced in January 1992. The republic has so far seen five presidents from two political parties. 

    Below is the breakdown of all presidents in the four republics.

    PresidentTermPolitical party

    Jerry John Rawlings

    1993 – 2001

    NDC

    John Agyekum Kufuor

    2001 – 2009

    NPP

    John Evans Atta Mills

    2009 – 2013

    NDC

    John Dramani Mahama

    2013 – 2017

    NDC

    Nana Akufo-Addo

    2017 – to date

    NPP

    Given that this claim was not made against any benchmarks or any independent index or source, it cannot be verified. 

    It will require more context to verify.   

  • ARTICLE: Why we worry about conflicting Information from public officials

    With the upcoming general elections in December 2020, the major political parties in Ghana have been throwing light on their achievements during their administrations in the bid to win favour in the eyes of Ghanaian voters. 

    Flooding the online space are discussions following the Vice President, Dr Mahmoud Bawumia’s presentation titled, Presentation of the Government Infrastructure Development During The First Term in Office. 

    After this presentation on August 18th, 2020, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) came out to highlight some of the inconsistencies in the figures quoted by the Vice President and some officials of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

    As stated by the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Hon. Okudzeto, via his Twitter page, the figures stated on the Community Day Senior High Schools completed during the NDC administration by the Vice president and the Education Minister are inconsistent.

    Image source: Twitter.com

    This is unfortunately true.

    On March 7th, 2017 graphic.com.gh published an article in which the Minister of Education, Mr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, is reported to have quoted a different figure.

    “Only forty-six out of the 200 planned Community Day Senior High School projects initiated by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has been completed,” the article stated.

    Fast forward to 18th August, 2020. The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, stated during the “Presentation of the Government Infrastructure Development During The First Term in Office” that the NDC government completed 29 community day senior high schools. This can be seen on page 56 of the speech read by the Vice President, in the column named “Completed by 2016”. See Screenshot below.

    Image source: Copy of V.P Bawumia’s Presentation of the Government Infrastructure Development During The First Term in Office

    Another instance of inconsistent figures on executed government projects was the July 2020 report on Facebook, by the Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, which stated that Three Hundred and Thirteen Thousand, Eight Hundred and Thirty-Seven (313, 837)  senior high school students would be writing the West African Senior Schools Certificate Examination (WASSCE). This was repeated on the official Facebook and Twitter pages of the President, Nana Akufo- Addo.

    Contrary to the figures claimed by the President and the Deputy Education Minister, the  West African Examination Council (WAEC) on their website reported a contrary figure. 

    Image source: WAEC Ghana

    Both Facebook accounts of the President and the Deputy Minister have since corrected the mistake in the figure stated, however, the twitter account of the President still has the wrong figure in the post made on July 19th, 2020. This was evident when Dubawa made a followup to see if the error had been rectified on the various accounts. See below screenshot taken on August 20th, 2020 below.

    Why does this matter?

    Millions of Ghanaians are exposed to wrong figures either intentionally or otherwise. Based on the followership of the parties or examples used in this article alone; President Akufo-Addo (1.5 Million followers on Twitter), V.P Bawumia (835,712 followers on Facebook), Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa (90.4K followers on Twitter), and Hon. Osei Adutwum (113, 476 followers on Facebook), it is clear what a large number of citizens are exposed to by information from state actors.  

    The broad ecosystem of false information, corrected information, true figures, and contested figures, create a web of uncertainty and possible confusion for people who are exposed to them. This is why it is important for government, politicians, and government agencies to come clear and be consistent with information they put out in the public space. This is vital in ensuring that the citizenry are able to make informed decisions based on actual and truthful information without any uncertainties. 

    PS: Dubawa has contacted the relevant agencies for clarity on the claims made by Dr Bawumia and that members of the opposition have made regarding the number of community day SHS built so far.

  • Profile of Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia

    Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia is the Vice President of Ghana and the running mate of the flagbearer of incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo for the December 2020 elections. 

    Dr Bawumia’s foray into politics started when he was selected by then flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Akufo-Addo to be his running mate for the 2008 elections. For the 2008 elections, Dr Bawumia is noted to have increased the NPP votes from the 2004 elections, particularly in three regions in northern Ghana, albeit the NPP lost in that election. However, in the 2016 elections, the NPP won and Dr Bawumia was sworn in as the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, on 7 January 2017.

    Before his political career, Dr Bawumia served as a trained economist and banker. He is currently an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (U.K) (ACIB) and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (FCIB), Ghana. He also has several publications to his name including articles in journals and two books on Monetary Policy and Economic Development.

    Dr Bawumia’s career as an economist and banker started as a lecturer for Monetary Economics and International Finance at the Emile Woolf College of Accountancy in London, England, between 1988 and 1990. He also worked as an economist at the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC, USA. From 1996 to 2000, Dr. Bawumia served as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University in Texas, USA. There, he was awarded the Young Researcher Award in 1998. 

    He returned to Ghana in 2000 and served as a senior economist at the Bank of Ghana. While at the Bank of Ghana, Dr Bawumia held positions such as the Head of Monetary Policy and Financial Stability, Special Assistant to the Governor, Capital Market Committee Chairman, Monetary Policy Committee Member, and in June 2006, he was appointed Deputy Governor of the Bank by former President J.A. Kufuor where he served till 2009.

    Dr Bawumia was also a Consultant for the Economic Commission of Africa from February to March 2009.  In October 2009, he was appointed a Fellow of the International Growth Centre (IGC), where he served as an IGC Team Member for Sierra Leone.  He then served as an Advisor to the Central Bank of Sierra Leone on the redesigning of the organisational structure of the Bank and its monetary policy framework. In January 2010, Dr Bawumia was appointed a Resident Representative of the African Development Bank for Zimbabwe by the African Development Bank and served in that capacity until he was re-nominated as the Vice Presidential Candidate to Mr Akufo-Addo of the NPP ahead of the 2012 Presidential Election. 

    Dr Bawumia has also served on some academic boards as a visiting scholar at the University of British Columbia Liu Centre for Global Studies, in Canada and the UBC Fisheries Centre from April to October 2009; a Senior Associate Member of St. Anthony’s College at the University of Oxford; and a visiting professor of economic governance at Ghana’s Central University, between 2013 and 2015.

    Dr Bawumia had his primary education at Sakasaka Primary School in Tamale and his secondary education at Tamale Secondary School. In secondary school, he was President of the Ghana United Nations Students’ Association (GUNSA) in 1981 and graduated the following year in 1982. 

    He later had his tertiary education in the United Kingdom where he studied banking and obtained the Chartered Institute of Bankers Diploma (ACIB) at the Emile Woolf College of Accountancy, London in 1984. He also studied Economics at Buckingham University in 1987 where he obtained a First Class Honours Degree. He further obtained a master’s degree in Economics at Lincoln College, Oxford, and a PhD in Economics at the Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1995. Dr Bawumia specialises in the fields of Macroeconomics, International Economics, Development Economics and Monetary Policy.

    Dr Bawumia was born in Tamale, on October 7, 1963, to the late former Chairman of the Council of State, and Mamprugu Royal and Paramount Chief, Mumuni Bawumia, and to Mariama Bawumia. He is the twelfth of 18 children of his father, and the second of five children of his mother.

    Dr Bawumia is married to Samira Ramadan Bawumia, whose father was the former People’s National Convention (PNC) National Chairman, Ahmed Ramadan. They have four children together.

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