On the 5th
of November, 2010, Ghana Statistical Services announced that its GDP for the
year 2010 was revised to 44.8 billion cedi (US$29.2 billion)
as compared to the previously estimated 25.6 billion cedi (US$16.7 billion). It
meant an increase in the income level of Ghana of about 60 percent and that the
country moved from being a low income country to a middle income country overnight
(Ghana Statistical Service
In response, on the Center of Global Development blog pages, African
Development expert Todd Moss exclaimed: “Boy, we really don’t know anything”
(Todd Moss 2010). Given this level of error margin in the GDP estimate on
Ghana, arguably the most studied country on the continent, what should we think
about economic statistics deriving from other African countries? The news was
met with equal bewilderment in Ghana. According to the local news, the UN
Resident Coordinator for the United Nations Development Programme went as far
as dismissing the new classification as a statistical hypothesis, and
emphasising that in terms of its achievements towards the Millennium
Development Goals Ghana should still be classified as being among the poorest
countries in the world (Enquirer 2011).
current President John Atta Mills was campaigning in the presidential elections
in 2008 one of his promises was to take Ghana to middle income status by 2020.
Is this sudden increase in Ghana’s GDP a result of pressure to deliver on its
electoral promises? This would seemingly fit in well with the phrase usually
credited to Benjamin Disraeli, saying tha...