Ghana cedi trading at 5.79 to the US dollar - AFP
Pro-Nigerian social media accounts have claimed in posts that the exchange rate between the Ghana cedi and the US dollar is 59,000:1. The claim intends to defend the performance of the Nigerian naira, which has depreciated during successive governments. However, the claim is misleading: the cedi is currently exchanging at 5.79 to the US dollar, although Ghana removed a string of zeros from the currency more than a decade ago.
The claim was first published on July 21, 2021, by a Facebook user called Usamat Abduljalal, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.
Usamat’s alternative name on the social network is “Buhari Pikin”, which in local parlance means a child (in this context a loyalist) of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
Screenshot showing the Facebook post, taken on July 26, 2021
Since it was published, other pro-government accounts have circulated versions of the claim, including this post with more than 330 shares.
Screenshot showing the Facebook post, taken on July 25, 2021
“Ghanian currency to Dollar is now C59,000 to $1 (sic),” the claim reads. “Wailers won’t report this, they won’t post it & won’t tell you this (sic).”
The word “wailers” is regularly used in Nigeria to describe government critics, who constantly accuse Buhari of mismanaging the country’s economy, as well as the naira, the local currency.
Depreciation of the naira
In the past decades, the naira has continued to lose value against the US dollar. This is due “to the undiversified structure of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings, which is dependent on crude oil,” said Gbolahan Ologunro, a senior analyst at Lagos-based investment firm Cordros Securities who spoke to AFP Fact Check.
In July 2011, the official exchange rate of the naira to the dollar was about 150:1. Ten years later, it has weakened to 410 naira to a dollar.
Image of a man exchanging Nigeria's currency Naira for US dollars in Lagos ( AFP / Pius Utomi EKPEI)
Last year, a former commissioner in Nigeria’s northern Kano state, Muaz Magaji, posted that the naira was fast becoming the weakest on the continent.
“Devaluation in the local currency leads to imported inflation that invariably reduces the real income of the average Nigerian,” Ologunro said.
How the cedi stacks up
In July 2007, Ghana replaced the old cedi (denoted by ¢) with the Ghana cedi (GH¢) and removed four zeros from the currency, meaning 10,000 cedis equalled one Ghana cedi in new money.
Before this, a dollar bought you ¢9,213.64, according to the exchange rate on June 27, 2007.
Screenshot of Ghana’s exchange rate on BoG’s website, taken on July 28, 2021
As of July 23, 2021, the exchange rate for GH¢ to the US dollar was nearly 5.8:1, according to the Bank of Ghana.