Claims: 3 claims about rising poverty levels and the destruction of Ghana’s forest reserves
Source: Kwabena Agyei Agyepong
Verdict: 2 FALSE & 1 TRUE
Researched by Julius Kofi Satsi
A New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer aspirant, Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, at the launch of his campaign to lead the party on July 11, 2023, has lamented the increasing rate of poverty in Ghana and the destruction of our natural environment.
According to him, 25% of households live in ramshackle structures and 60% of Ghanaians live in poverty.
This Fact-check report seeks to verify the accuracy of 3 claims made during the campaign launch.
- Whether 25% of households in Ghana live in temporary ramshackle structures?
- Whether 60% of Ghanaians are in abject poverty?
- Whether Ghana has lost about 60% of our green cover?
“According to the recent housing census, 25% of households live in temporary ramshackle structures.” (Between minutes 1:39-1:50)
According to the census report (pg. 146), there are 20.7% non-conventional structures in Ghana. These structures include metal containers, wooden structures, or kiosks.
The report explained that 27.5% of these structures could be found in urban areas and 13.1% in rural areas.
Nowhere in Ghana’s first fully digital census does it state that: “25% of households live in temporary ramshackle structures.”
“Proportion of non-conventional structures (metal containers, wooden structures, and kiosks) is 20 per cent or higher in five regions and less than 10 per cent in four,” the report highlighted.
The Director of Communication and Dissemination at the GSS, Dr Owusu Kwagya in an interview with GhanaFact said: “the word ramshackle structure will be difficult to measure using the census standard because my understanding is that this is a kind of structure that is in disrepair, in a very bad state.”
“We cannot equate the usage of the word ramshackle structure to mean uncoventional structures because the structure could be conventional or non-coventional and still be in the ramshackle state.”
Therefore, the claim is rated FALSE.
“60% of us (Ghanaians) are in abject poverty.”(Between minutes 1:39-1:50)
To fact-check this claim GhanaFact will use the Poverty Trends in Ghana report -“Ghana Living Standards Survey Round 7 (GLSS7) 2005-2017” – by the Ghana Statistical Service, the most current available document assessing the poverty levels in Ghana.
In Ghana, the practice is to develop two poverty lines: the upper poverty line (which is referred to as the poverty line) and the lower poverty line (which is referred to the extreme poverty line).
The GSS report published in August 2018, explains that extreme poverty incidence is defined as the state where the standard of living is insufficient to meet the basic nutritional requirements of the household even if they devote their entire consumption budget to food.
“The households whose real welfare falls below the extreme poverty line of GH¢792.2 (in 2012/13 prices) per adult equivalent per year are considered extreme poor,” the report stated.
According to the report, “an estimated 8.2 percent of Ghana’s population is living in extreme poverty.”
The incidence of extreme poverty has declined since 2005/06. It was 16.5 percent in that year, declining to 8.4 percent in 2012/13 and 8.2 percent in 2016/17.
Meanwhile using the upper poverty line, the proportion of the population defined as poor is 23.4 percent in 2016/17.
An upper poverty line of GH¢1,314 per adult equivalent per year: this incorporates both essential food and non-food consumption. Based on the 2010 Population and Housing Census (PHC) projections for 2017, about 6.8 million people in Ghana are poor.
In 2020, Oxfam International stated that around 24.2% of Ghana’s population live below the poverty line.
Therefore, it is inaccurate to claim that 60% of Ghanaians live in abject poverty. The claim is rated FALSE.
“We’ve lost about 60% of our green cover .”(Between minutes 29:17-29:20)
“Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire experienced the highest percent rise in primary forest loss between 2017 and 2018 of any tropical country (60 percent and 26 percent, respectively).”
According to the reports, Ghana was among the top 10 countries losing the most tropical primary rainforests in 2018.
“According to FAOSTAT, in 2020, Ghana’s forest cover was close to 7.99 million hectares, accounting for 35.10% of Ghana’s total land area. Based on ‘an’ analysis of data from 2001-2015, Ghana’s annual deforestation rate was approximately 3.51%, equivalent to yearly losses of greater than 315,000 hectares. Total deforestation during this time period surpassed 4.7 million ha. Unfortunately, deforestation is not a new phenomenon in Ghana. In 1900, Ghana had over 8 million ha of tropical high forest, but from the 1950s to 2000, 2.7 million hectares, over 60% of Ghana’s primary forests, were lost,” Ofori-Atta said.
When GhanaFact contacted Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, he acknowledged some mistakes and omissions in his submission and said: “If you have contrary information, that is fine.”
Therefore, the claim that Ghana has lost about 60% of its forest cover is rated as TRUE.