Ghana didn’t donate US$2m for Notre Dame rebuild – the story is satire

Ghana has donated US$2 million for the reconstruction of France’s Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, claims an article from the site NewsmuNews that’s been widely shared on Facebook.

The famous Gothic cathedral lost most of its roof to a fire that started during renovations in April 2019. 

The article shows a photo from a joint press conference with Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo and French president Emmanuel Macron in December 2017, in Accra, Ghana. 

“Ghana is about constructing their own version of the National Cathedral and cannot therefore sit as fire destroys another. For this reason, the Government of Ghana is rumoured to have contributed an amount of 2 million [US dollars] to France,” the article says.

“Now, let’s have your say. Did Ghana do well or nah?”

In April Akufo-Addo was criticised for tweeting about the Notre Dame fire while remaining silent about people killed in floods in Accra, the country’s capital city.

Ghanaian presidency debunked it

Rumours of the $2 million donation spread on social media. Ghana’s presidency quickly debunked them. 

The presidency’s communications director, Eugene Arhin, said: “The assertions being made on social media to the effect that President Akufo-Addo has donated $2 million to the rebuilding of the Notre Dame Cathedral are not true. No such thing has been done. We urge all to disregard this false news.”

Ghana not on donor’s list

Within days of the Notre Dame fire, nearly €900 million had been pledged for its reconstruction by donors from all over the world. 

Multiple international news outlets published a list of over 20 main donors, including banks, insurers, oil firms, tech companies and public institutions. Ghana’s government is not on the list.   

Satirical website

And it turns out the story was satire, possibly poking fun at Akufo-Addo’s tweet about Notre Dame. NewsmuNews is based in Ghana and identifies itself as a “news, sports and political satire web publication”. 

A disclaimer on the site reads: “All news articles contained within NewsmuNews are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental, except for all references to politicians and/or celebrities, in which case they are based on real people, but still based almost entirely in fiction.” – Allwell Okpi 

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check has partnered with Facebook to combat fake news and false information on the social platform. This fact-check is part of the initiative.

As part of its third-party fact-checking programme, Facebook allows its partners to see public articles, pictures or videos that have been flagged as potentially inaccurate.

Content rated as “false” by fact-checkers will be downgraded in news feeds. This means fewer people will see it.

You can help us identify fake news and false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

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