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 policy analyst and media practitioner with over eight years of experience in policy, data and investigative 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 strategic project and policy focus for the organisation. He is an author; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation, Commonwealth Youth Program ,Free Press Unlimited and Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative. Gideon holds a degree in economics from the University of Cape Coast, a PgD in Fiscal Policy for financing sustainable development from the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning, in South Africa and a PgD in Policy Journalism and Media Studies from the University of Zambia. He is the founder and country president of SOA Ghana Hub. Gideon is a Policy Leader Fellow at the European University Institute, School of Trans-national Governance in Florence.
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