Ghana’s currency strength has been a major campaign strategy since former president John Agyekum Kufuor oversaw her denomination change. The move which aimed at eliminating the hazard and inconvenience in dealing with new sums of currency note birthed another topic of relevance, how the cedi was performing against other major currencies.
It was simple to note. A dollar was approximately a cedi, so the conversation started.
Fast forward to Ghana’s last election and the exchange rate was a keynote for the ruling government, the National Patriotic Party. The then running mate and now Vice President of the Republic of Ghana had lectures on the exchange rate giving insights to how a country needed strong fundamentals to strengthen its economy.
In a famous quote by Ghana’s Vice President, he says:
“You can engage in all the propaganda you want but if the fundamentals are weak, the exchange rate will expose you.”
When the value of the cedi started depreciating in a consistent and rapid rate in 2019, Ghanaians started raising genuine concerns. For a country whose major spending currency is the Ghana Cedi, the dollar is a major currency force to reckon with in Ghana.
Property sales and rents for most residential homes and businesses are done using foreign currencies especially the US dollars.
The concerns raised by Ghanaians saw the need for the government to address the issue relating to the dollar rate. Ghana’s president His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was the first to calm his people down. He stressed how he was upset at the rate at which the Ghana Cedi was depreciating against major currencies.
“I am extremely upset and anxious about it, but I want to assure you that all efforts are being made to arrest the decline and restore the cedi to stability. Very soon we will be seeing the results of our policy,” Ghana president said.
His Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta assured Ghanaians a few weeks later that the government was putting in measures to stabilize the Cedi.
Speaking to the media in Ghana about a strategy to calm nerves by solving the dollar problem, Ken Ofori-Atta said:
“We have about $300 million coming in from COCOBOD and another $600 million also from COCOBOD in about a month or so. We have officially launched our Eurobond which will be $3 billion and that should close within the next couple of weeks.
“Foreign exchange is a price which means it is demand and supply and what I am saying is that the resources that we are going after; $300 million, $600 million and another $750 million and 3 billion and [I think] we should be okay. And all of this should happen within the next two or so weeks.”
Since the news of an unstable Ghana Cedi depreciating against major currencies broke in the early stages of 2019, most Ghanaians have made it a point to check the rate on a daily basis.
With Google being one of the most convenient ways to check how the cedi is performing against other major currencies, most Ghanaians have used it as a reference point which has been mostly accurate.
On Friday, March 15, 2019, news broke of the dollar abysmally falling against other currencies according to information on Google.
A quick search showed the dollar which was less than 6 Cedis to a dollar in the early morning was now 22.72 Ghana Cedis to the dollar.
Other currencies that saw the hike (according to Google references) included the Pound Sterling and Euros.
1 Pound Sterling was to 30.22 Ghana Cedis as the rate of the Cedi to Euros was 1: 25.72.
On the Daily Interbank FX Rates of the Bank of Ghana, however, the Ghana Cedi still had numbers in the region which they were in the last few weeks.
The Ghana cedi according to statistics for Thursday, March 14, 2019, had a Cedi to 5.237 US dollar (buying), 6.950 Pound Sterling (buying), 5.921 (buying) and 5.243 (selling), 6.960 (selling), 5.926 (selling) respectively.
This Google glitch on the echange rate got Ghanaians talking.
Google quickly moved to the top on Ghana's Twitter trends immediately people spotted the glitch.