General News of Tuesday, 20 September 2016
The NDC party launched its 2016 manifesto in Sunyani, last Saturday in the Brong Ahafo Region. When our team of fact-checkers subjected three claims made by Hon. Alban Bagbin to scrutiny, it was found that only one of them was entirely true. Below are the claims he made, the fact-checking verdicts and the basis for the verdicts.
Claim 1: Ghana is the “second largest economy after Nigeria and the 12 largest in Africa.”
Verdict: Entirely True
Explanation: This claim by Hon. Bagbin is true if one looks at GDP levels of countries in West Africa and in Africa as a whole. In West Africa, Nigeria recorded the highest GDP of $481.07 billion in 2015. Ghana followed with $37.86 billion in 2015. Again, Ghana’s GDP as at 2015 is the 12th highest GDP on the continent.
Claim 2: Ghana has the “highest national income” amongst its neighbours
Verdict: True but Misleading
Explanation: Ghana’s national income in terms of GDP in 2015 was $37.86 billion, an amount that was indeed higher than our neighbours Ivory Coast ($31.75bn), Burkina Faso ($11.1bn), and Togo ($4bn).
However, such a comparison is primarily flawed as only one (Ivory Coast) out of Ghana’s 3 neighbouring countries are categorised as lower middle income countries like Ghana is.
If one is to look at the economic growth rates of Ghana and its neighbours, Ghana falls behind with its growth rate of 4.9%. Ivory Coast leads with a growth rate of 9.4%, Burkina Faso and Togo recorded 5.9% and 5.8% growth rates respectively.
Claim 3: The quality of life of Ghanaians has increased tremendously…the life expectancy of Ghanaians has improved from 58 years in 2008 to 64 years in 2012. This means that Ghanaians live longer and better lives than they did in 2008.
Verdict: Mostly False
Explanation: The measure of life expectancy in a country refers to the overall mortality level of the population of the country. It denotes the pattern of mortality that exits across all age groups in a given year – children and adolescents, adults and the elderly.
Bagbin’s claims about life expectancy in Ghana were found to be mostly false. According to World Bank and World Health Organisation (WHO) data, Bagbin underestimated life expectancy in Ghana in 2008 when the NPP was leaving office and overestimated the measure in 2012 when the NDC was in power.
Contrary to Bagbin’s claim of life expectancy of 58 years in 2008, World Bank puts the measure at 60.0 years and the WHO, 60.3 years. For the year 2012, instead of the 64 years claimed by Bagbin, life expectancy was 61.0 and 61.6 years according to the World Bank and the WHO, respectively.
Even the most recent data according to these two sources still fall short of Bagbin’s claim about life expectancy in Ghana. The WHO put the measure at 62.4 years in 2015 and the World Bank quotes 61.3 years for 2014.