Mahamudu 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.

  • #BawumiaSpeaks: Fact-checking Bawumia’s Digitization Speech at Ashesi

    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 brings you our findings in this report. 

    Claim 1: We have identified and provided unique addresses for all properties in Ghana (7.5 million properties).

    Although 7.5 million people have used the Ghana Post GPS address system since its inception, there are over 10 million structures counted during the Population and Housing Census conducted in 2021 of which 8 million and over are fully complete properties.

    Fact-checker: Roselena Ahiable

    Verification

    According to the preliminary report from the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) released on September 22, a total of 10.7 million structures were counted in the country during the census.  These structures were completed buildings, uncompleted buildings at various levels of completion above window level, and unconventional structures (such as metal containers, and kiosks). Twenty percent (20%) are metal containers, kiosks, and wooden structures.

    The report further reveals that “over ten million (10,661,421) structures were counted during the listing, out of which 8,547,391 (80.2%) are fully completed i.e. roofed with windows and doors fixed.” 

    If the identified properties, as stated by the Vice President, is 7.5 million, then not all properties have been identified, as over a million fully completed structures have not been accounted for. Thus, addresses could not have been generated for them.

    The figure stated by the Vice President may have been derived from James Kwofie, Managing Director of the Ghana Post Company Limited when he said that,

     “…over 7.5million people have used the Ghana Post GPS address system to search for locations in the country since its inception on October 18, 2017. ”

    However, this 7.5 million does not account for all properties in Ghana, if held against data from the Ghana Statistical survey and the just ended PHC.

    Claim 2: Ghana was the second country in Africa after Rwanda to implement the delivery of medical supplies to remote areas through drones.

    Other African countries like Madagascar, Senegal, and Malawi are ahead of Ghana in the use of drones for medical deliveries to remote areas.

    Fact-checker: Jeffrey Nyabor

    Verification

    In 2017, the Government of Malawi and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) launched an air corridor to test the use of drones for humanitarian purposes.

    The corridor was to facilitate medical supplies to remote villages.

    The project was to run until, at least, 2018.

    A June 2021 article, published on Health Developments, indicates that drones are still being used in Malawi to make healthcare accessible to people in rural communities.

    Ghana’s drone medical delivery network was launched in April 2019, which will be two years after the project in Malawi and three years after (2016) when the government of Rwanda and Zipline launched their partnership to deliver medical supplies by drone.

    A 2019 research, published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, captures Madagascar (1 Project; Nov 2017—Dec 2018), Malawi (2 projects; one in 2016 and the other 2017, both ongoing]) and Senegal (1 Project; Dec 2017—ongoing)  among a group of early adopters piloting the use of bi-directional transport drones for health systems in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Another publication in the History of Science and Technology Journal, published in 2021, acknowledged that countries such as Senegal, Madagascar, and Rwanda began the application of drones in healthcare delivery before Ghana. 

    “Countries like Senegal, Madagascar, Rwanda, and Malawi encouraged Ghana to consider the application of drones in her mainstream healthcare delivery,” a part of the publication reads.

    Claim 3: Ghana is the first country in Africa and one of the few in the world to achieve this type of interoperability between bank accounts and mobile wallets.

    Verdict: False. Ghana is not the first country in Africa to achieve interoperability between bank accounts and mobile wallets.

    Fact-checker: Roselena Ahiable

    Verification

    This is not the first time Dr Bawumia would make this claim. 

    “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,” he said during a one-on-one interview on Peace Fm’s Kokrooko on August 25th, 2020. 

    Dubawa found this claim false as other African countries started implementing interoperability before Ghana.  Read more here.

    Claim 4: In the USA, the Federal Reserve Bank does not have interoperability in its Real-Time Payments Network.

    The Federal Reserve Bank in the United States of America does not have real-time payments interoperability yet.

    Fact-checker: Roselena Ahiable

    Verification

    A Reuters report in August 2019 indicated that the United States Federal Reserve announced plans to develop a real-time payment and settlement system with an expected launch in 2023 or 2024. 

    As of September 3rd, 2021, another report in the PaymentsJournal, suggests that this is still pending as “The American Bankers Association recently asked the Federal Reserve to achieve a state of interoperability with The Clearing House RTP network.” 

    Furthermore, the AmericanBarAssociation has also indicated that the FedNowSM Service (FedNow), is expected to be launched in 2023 or 2024.

    “FedNow is a real-time payment and settlement service that will incorporate clearing functionality into the process of settling each payment. This will allow financial institutions to exchange the information needed to make debits and credits to customer accounts and notify customers of completed or failed payments. FedNow will provide access through the Fed’s FedLine® network, which currently provides Federal Reserve Bank payment and information services to more than 10,000 financial institutions, both directly and through their agents”, the report reads. 

    Claim 5: Ghana’s cybersecurity ranking is now 89.6% compared to 32% in 2017.

    Ghana scored 32.6% in the 2017 Global Security Index but scored 86.69% in the 2020 report.

    Fact-checker: Kennedy Twumasi

    Verification

    According to the most recent Global Cybersecurity Index(GCI) of the International Telecommunication Union(ITU), Ghana’s current cybersecurity ranking is 86.69%, not 89.6% as touted by the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. 

    Source: Global Security Index 2020

    In 2017 however, the Global Security Index by the ITU scored Ghana 0.326, which is 32.6%. 

    Image: Page 51 of the 2017  Global Security Index by ITU

    Claim 6: Internet penetration currently stands at 50% compared to 26% in 2017

    According to datareportal and statista, Ghana currently has an internet penetration rate of 50%. However, contrary to the Vice President’s indication of Ghana recording a 26% internet penetration rate in 2017, we found that the correct figure is actually 28%. – higher than was suggested.

    Fact-checker: Roselena Ahiable

    Verification

    Ghana’s internet penetration rate currently stands at 50% according to Statista, and datareportal

    Image source: Statista.com
    Image source: datareportal.com (2017)

    In 2017, internet penetration rates for Ghana was recorded and reported by datareportal and statista to have been 28%.

    Image source: datareportal.com (2021)

    To be continued…

  • NDC and NPP’s ‘fight’ over Tolon District Hospital: Here are the Facts About the Project

    Ghana’s Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Monday, November 23, 2020, commissioned the Tolon district hospital in the Northern Region. 

    He said the facility is one of the six medical facilities which began three (3) years ago.

    The other facilities are the 80-bed Hospital at Somanya in the Eastern Region; 80-bed District Hospital at Buipe in the Savannah Region; 60-bed Hospital at Wheta in the Volta Region; 60- bed Hospital at Sawla in the Savannah Region and a 30-bed Polyclinic at Bamboi in the Savannah Region.

    In addressing the gathering at the ceremony, he remarked that the commissioning of the project proves wrong persons who claim the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has not built a single health facility since it came to power in January 2017. 

    “Today’s event is a testament to the fact that truth crawls but will always triumph over falsehood…All of these facilities are practically complete and will be inaugurated one after the other by the close of the year, 2020,” Dr Bawumia said at the event.  

    His claim is, however, disputed by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) which contends that the project is a legacy left behind by the John Mahama NDC administration. 

    A former Communications Minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu in a Facebook post said the Akufo-Addo government knows nothing about the project. 

    “The Tolon District Hospital is yet another legacy of President Mahama. He found money for it in April 2016 and the contract for it and four others, as well as a Polyclinic at Bole, was awarded and signed with Vamed in September 2016. Akufo-Addo knows nothing about it and nothing about it knows Akufo-Addo,” Kwakye Ofosu’s post read. 

    There is, therefore, divided opinion on social media over who should be credited for the project. 

    While supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) insist that is an achievement of the government, supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) say the project must be credited to them. 

    What are the facts about the project and who can lay claim to it? 

    Based on the background information that the Tolon District Hospital and the five other health facilities were externally funded, we checked the Parliament of Ghana’s archive of agreements and memoranda and found that the agreement for funding and construction of the facilities was submitted to parliament in March 2016 when the NDC’s John Mahama was still in office. 

    According to the document, President Mahama gave executive approval to the credit agreement a day before it was sent to Parliament.

    Per the document, a total amount of €89.9 million was sought from the Raiffeisen Bank International of Austria for the design, construction, equipping and furnishing of five new district hospitals at Somanya, Buipe, Sawla, Wheta, Tolon, and one Polyclinic at Bamboi.

    The Ministry of Health in a press release on September 7, 2016, indicated that an agreement had been signed with Vamed Engineering group as the contractor to execute the project. 

    According to many news reports such as one on Myjoyonline and GBC Ghana, John Mahama, on January 1, 2017, days before officially handing over power to the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo, held a ceremony in Wheta in the Volta Region to symbolically cut sod for all the five district hospital projects.  

    At the function, he said funding had been approved and he was hopeful that the incoming government will continue with the projects. 

    In his last State of the Nation Address on January 5, 2020, John Mahama restated the fact that he had cut sod for the projects to start. 

    In the 2017 budget statement [Page 113] read by the new government’s finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta on March 2, 2017, the NPP government said it will continue the work that had started for the five district hospitals including the Tolon district hospital as well as the Polyclinic in Bamboi. 

    Despite the development, media reports from Daily Guide and Citi FM indicate that President Akufo-Addo in July 2018 again cut sod for the construction of the Tolon district hospital while on a 3-day tour of the Northern Region.

    A photo from the ceremony used by Daily Guide shows that at the time, blockwork was yet to commence, although the site had been prepared. 

    In the 2019 budget statement [Page 175] item 899, the Minister for Finance said, “In 2019, the following projects will continue: completion and equipping of Bekwai district hospital; four district hospital projects at Sawla, Tolon, Somanya, Buipe and a polyclinic at Bamboi; construction of Axim hospital; and rehabilitation of Effia-Nkwanta emergency, maternity and children’s block.”

    Again in the 2020 budget statement [Page 185] item 1033, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta said, the construction of 5 District Hospitals in Sawla, Tolon, Somanya, Buipe and Wheta and a Polyclinic in Bamboi will continue. 

    The contractors, VAMED Engineering GmbH on their website listed the Tolon District Hospital project contract’s execution as spanning from 2016 to 2020. 

    Conclusion:

    Evidence shows that the John Mahama administration started work on the Tolon District Hospital project by getting parliamentary approval for its funding agreement, signing the agreement with the contractor and cutting sod for the commencement of construction. 

    The Akufo-Addo administration also cut sod for the project and blockwork (actual construction) was undertaken during this administration.

    Both leaders, therefore, played a role in the construction of the Tolon District Hospital. 

Back to top button