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HomeGeneral News#BawumiaSpeaks: Fact-checking Bawumia’s digitization speech at Ashesi

#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).

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.

Verdict – False: 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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Verdict – Mostly True: Ghana scored 32.6% in the 2017 Global Security Index but scored 86.69% in the 2020 report.

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

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)

Source: ghana.dubawa.org

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