Accra, Oct 09, Palaver - There are grave doubts about the un-attributed news item packaged for and published as a front-page story in the 'Daily Graphic' of Wednesday October 6, 2004 to the effect that Ghana's Finance Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has been adjudged the best Finance Minister in Africa. According to the story, the Finance Minister “received the covetous award of the Best African Finance Minister of the Year at a World Bank/IMF sponsored reception in Washington DC”. Even though the story quotes copiously from a so-called “Emerging Markets” newspaper, which the 'Daily Graphic' claim is a publication of the two Bretton-Woods Institutes, it does not state specifically that the “Emerging Markets” newspaper announced the award. It only writes of the newspaper “reporting on the award”. Rather, at the tail end of the story, it is stated that “Euromoney, a leading magazine on international business and capital markets, organised the award”. Your authoritative 'Ghana Palaver' has had access to the ranking of world-wide country economic performances organised by Euromoney on the basis of which the Finance Minister could have been ranked, and unless the 'Daily Graphic' is talking about a different Euromoney, or a different ranking, or a different assessment, then the 'Daily Graphic' story must be taken with large doses of pinches of salt. According to the Euromoney rankings, published in a document entitled “Economic Projections - Result Methodology”, Ghana ranked 116th out of a total of 178 countries, and 17th in the ranking of African countries. This was for the September 2004 ranking.
For the March 2004 ranking, Ghana came 122nd out of the same number of countries, and occupied the same 17th position in Africa. In the total world rankings, Norway was 1st in March and 3rd in September, whilst Luxembourg was 3rd in March and 1st in September.
African countries ranked higher than Ghana were the following: Botswana (49 in March, 53 in September); South Africa (56, 56); Tunisia (62, 48); Namibia (66, 75); Mauritius (71,68); Morocco (78,72); Tanzania (88,103); Algeria (93,106); Egypt (94, 97); Uganda (96, 79); Libya (101, 119); Senegal (110,104); Kenya (116, 114); The Gambia (119, 134); Equatorial Guinea (119, 126); Zambia (120, 148); Ghana (122,116). African “Big Boys” who trailed Ghana included Gabon (130,123); Nigeria (132, 113); La Cote d'Ivoire (158, 157) and Zimbabwe (177,169).
Our sources at the World Bank do not recollect any reception at which such an award was conferred on Finance Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo. Similarly, our sources at the IMF drew zilch.
The question is, where did the 'Daily Graphic' get the story from? It is so unusual for such a reputable newspaper to carry such a story without a by-line and without attribution that we are tempted to demand as Ghanaian taxpayers who therefore are shareholders in the 'Daily Graphic' as a state-owned newspaper where they got the story from and to ask for “further and better particulars”.
Editor Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo is a lawyer. He will understand this demand.