Ghana’s official sector creditors have formed a committee co-chaired by China and France for debt restructurings talks, the Paris Club said on Friday, paving the way for a sign-off on a $3 billion InternationalMonetary Fund loan for the country. The West African nation is struggling through its worst economic crisis in a generation, defaulting on most of its international debt in December and writing down its domestic debt in February. “Creditor committee members are committed to negotiate with the Republic of Ghana (on) terms of a restructuring of their claims,” the Paris Club, an alliance of rich creditor nations, said on its website. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the official creditors’ statement provided “the necessary financing assurances for the IMF Executive Board to consider the proposed Fund-supported program”.Ghana secured a staff-level agreement with the IMF for the $3 billion support package in December. But for the money to be disbursed, the IMF board must approve it, which required financing assurances from official creditors.
Ghana’s finance ministry said on Twitter the government was ready to go to the IMF board. Reuters reported first on Thursday that the creditor committee would be formally launched and confirm its support. Ghana is negotiating its international debt rework under the Group of 20’s Common Framework platform. Some $5.4 billion of debt to official creditors has been earmarked for restructuring, according to government data, as well as $14.6 billion of debt to private overseas creditors. Like some other smaller, riskier emerging markets including Sri Lanka and Zambia, Ghana faces a debt overhaul after its already strained finances buckled under the economic fallout from COVID-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ghana’s international bonds rose sharply on Friday’s news with some up as much as 1.4 cents in the dollar, though they still trade at deeply distressed levels of between 36 cents and 40 cents, Tradeweb data showed. Carlos de Sousa, a portfolio manager at investment firm Vontobel said: “It’s quite positive that the process is moving forward in a relatively smooth timely manner”. Kathryn Exum, Co-Head of Sovereign Research & Strategy at Gramercy, said it was also “constructive” and bolstered the assumption that Ghana would be able to agree a deal in principle with bondholders by July. Reuters