FactCheck: Is California’s GDP larger than that of Africa’s combined?

Tracking Africa's economic performance

iWatch Africa assessment of recently published data by the African Development Bank can confirm that the US state of California has a larger gross domestic product than that of all African countries put together.

In 2017, the combined GDP of 54 African countries was $2.24 trillion, according to the most recent data from the African Development Bank.

California’s GDP was $2.798 trillion in 2017, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. These figures are at current market rates, which means they have not been adjusted for inflation.

Though many economic analysts hold the view that GDP at market rates does not always reflect the cost of living in a country, it is the most appropriate measure to get a sense of the size of an economy.

GDP measures the size of a country’s economy. It is the market value of all goods and services produced in a country in a given period, usually a year.

California’s GDP is so large it makes up 14% of the United States’ total GDP of  $19.48 trillion and larger than that of some OECD countries including UK, France, and Russia.

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In January 2019, The Spectator Index made similar claims in a tweet. In a tweet to its nearly 900,000 followers The Spectator Index said the state’s GDP was US$2.9 trillion, and Africa’s $2.33 trillion. More than this, California had a bigger economy than the UK, France, India, Brazil and Russia, the tweet said.

Story by Gideon Sarpong | iWatch Africa |

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Gideon Sarpong

Gideon Sarpong is a media practitioner with over six years experience in data, investigative and policy journalism. Gideon is currently the Policy and News Director at iWatch Africa. His major role includes developing news strategy for correspondents across Ghana, as well as designing project and policy focus for the organisation. He is an author with over eight publications; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation (Wealth of Nations Program), Commonwealth Youth Program (DYLP) and Bloomberg Data for Health Program. Gideon holds a degree in economics from the University of Cape Coast and PgD in Policy Journalism and Media Studies from the University of Zambia. He is a firm believer in the use of data journalism and technology for development and is committed to promoting transparency and accountability in Africa.

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