At Ghana’s 63rd Independence Day Celebration which, was held on Friday March 6, 2020, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made some verifiable claims on access to portable water, electricity and education that the Media Foundation for West Africa’s (MFWA’s) fact-checking team has fact-checked. Below are four of the major claims the President made, the verdicts and the bases of the verdicts.
Claim 1: “Nineteen percent (19%) of our people do not have access to potable water, but eighty-one percent (81%) of people in Ghana, presently, have access to safe water.”
Verdict: Entirely true
According to UNICEF, access to safe water in Ghana has seen a steady improvement since 2014. The percentage of Ghanaians who had access to safe water for consumption stood at 80%. Also, Water Aid Ghana’s latest report confirms the president’s claim of 81 per cent of Ghanaians having access to safe water. According to the report by Water Aid, about 23.5 Million Ghanaians – eight in every ten Ghanaians – have access to safe water which, translates to about 81% of Ghana’s current 29 million population.
Meanwhile, a 2019 report by Water.org suggests that people who do not have access to safe water for consumption in Ghana are more than five million people which might represent about 19 per cent of Ghana’s population.
Claim 2: “The supply of electricity has reached eighty-five percent (85%) of the country.”
Verdict: Completely False
Explanation: While electricity supply in Ghana may have increased, available statistics show that it is not up to 85% yet as stated by the President. A study by USAID’s Power Africa project indicates that access to electricity in Ghana is at 83% as at October 21, 2019. The Ministry of Energy in Ghana has also quoted a similar figure of 83.24% on its official website.
Claim 3: “Today, senior high school education is free for every child.”
Verdict: Entirely True
Explanation: Government of Ghana under the leadership of H.E Nana Akufo-Addo in September 2017 launched Free SHS policy in fulfilment of SDG 4 and as promised in the New Patriotic Party’s 2016 party manifesto. This entails the removal of cost barriers to education, expansion of educational infrastructure, improvement of quality and equity of and in education with the object of developing employable skills among students in Ghana. The policy also fulfils Article 25 1b of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana which, states among others that “Secondary education in its different forms including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education”.
Claim 4: “In the year 2000, there were ninety-thousand (90,000) mobile phone subscribers, in 2020, there are forty-one million subscriptions.”
Verdict: Entirely True
Explanation: According to data from the National Communication Authority’s (NCA’s) website, in the year 2000 there were four service providers operating in the country, namely MTN, Tigo, Vodafone and Expresso. The following is the breakdown of the subscribers of the service providers in year 2000.
Source: NCA, 2000
Nearly 20 years later, with the introduction of new service providers such as Zain—which was replaced by Airtel in 2010 and subsequently merged with Tigo to become AirtelTigo in 2017—and Glo, there has been a surge of mobile phone subscribers. With four service providers, below is the breakdown of the current mobile phone subscribers (as at the end of January 2020).
Source: NCA, 2020
The data therefore agrees with the claim of the President.