Ghana NOT World’s first country to achieve Millenium Devt. Goal 1

On July 28, 2023, a Central Regional Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Gabriella Tetteh, said on Adom TV’s morning show that during the NDC’s tenure, they were able to halve poverty making Ghana the first country in the world to achieve the Millennium Development Goal. She said this in response to a question about the state of affairs in the country.

Fact-Check Ghana has verified the claim and presents the facts below.

Claim: “If you look at the time NDC was in power, we were under the Millennium Development Goal and we were able to halve poverty [sic]. If you look at the whole world [sic], we were able to achieve that feat first.”

Verdict: Misleading

Explanation: The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were eight goals for improving the lives of the world’s poorest people. It started in the year 2000 with a target achievement date of 2015. Goal 1 of the MDGs was to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger with sub-targets that are:

 1a. To halve poverty between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people living on less than $1.00 a day.

1b. To achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all including women and young people.

1c. To reduce by half, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

A 2006 report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) titled Ghana Millennium Development Goals stated that  “with an overall poverty rate of 51.7% in 1991/92, Ghana began the last decade with a relatively high level of poverty, greater than the Sub-Sahara African average of about 47% during the same period. However, this level has seen a significant decline over the past two decades. Available data indicate that the country has managed to halve the proportion of people living in extreme poverty from about 36.5% in 1991/92 to about 18.2% in 2005/2006.”

This, according to the report, meant that “the MDG 1 of halving the proportion of the population in extreme poverty by 2015 has been achieved well ahead of the target date, thereby making Ghana the first Sub-Saharan African country to achieve this MDG.”

Again another publication by the World Bank in 2018 highlighted how Ghana achieved the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing the national poverty rate by more than half, from 52.7% in 1991 to 24.2% in 2012.

However, according to the United Nations, China is ahead of Ghana in achieving Goal 1a of the MDG – halving poverty. This is detailed in a report published by the UN titled China’s Progress Towards the Millennium Development Goals.

“China is the first developing country to achieve the MDG poverty reduction target before the proposed deadline.

“Measured by the common international poverty line of US $1 per day, the share of China’s rural population living in poverty was reduced from 46 per cent in 1990 to 10.4 per cent in 2005, also meeting the MDG target well ahead of time, ” the report said.

The claim by the United Nations is corroborated by two other reports by Unicef and the World Bank.

From the above, Ghana was not the first country in the world to achieve the MDG 1 target of halving poverty.  This makes Gabriella Tetteh’s claim misleading.

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