Ghana’s Official Creditors to meet on Jan. 8

Story: Business Desk 

Ghana’s official creditors are set to meet on Monday, January 8, to discuss the restructuring of approximately $5.4 billion in loans, according to Reuters.

This marks a critical step toward securing the next tranche of funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to three sources informed Reuters.

The Official Creditor Committee (OCC), co-chaired by the governments of China and France, who are among the bilateral lenders, holds around 25% of Ghana’s $20 billion external debt earmarked for restructuring.

The upcoming meeting is expected to focus on reaching an agreement regarding a “cut-off date,” determining the point after which new loans from bilateral creditors will not undergo restructuring, sources familiar with the matter revealed. 

This specific date has become a stumbling block in Ghana’s debt restructuring process.

Some creditors advocated for December 31, 2022, as the cut-off date, citing Ghana’s default earlier that month, while others supported March 24, 2020, the date when the Group of 20 introduced the debt service suspension initiative (DSSI) to aid the world’s poorest countries during the COVID crisis. 

Notably, Ghana did not participate in the DSSI.

In preparation for the OCC meeting on January 8, the Paris Club, consisting of major creditor nations (excluding China), will convene on Friday, according to two sources. 

The Paris Club has shared a technical note with other creditors and multilateral lenders on Ghana, proposing December 2022 as the cut-off date, as per one source.

Although Ghana is still navigating the cut-off date issue, creditors have yet to reach a consensus. If an agreement on the cut-off date is achieved, it signifies that a broader consensus on debt restructuring is within reach.

Ghana, known for its gold, cocoa, and oil production, must secure an agreement on debt restructuring with official creditors to obtain approval from the IMF executive board for the next $600 million payout from a $3 billion rescue loan. 

The IMF requires financing assurances to ensure that bilateral creditors are providing debt relief in line with the IMF programme.

Having requested bilateral debt restructuring under the Common Framework a year ago, Ghana is also in talks with overseas bondholders to restructure its more than $13 billion in international debt.

Notable bondholders include major global asset managers such as BlackRock, PIMCO, Vontobel, AllianceBernstein, and Neuberger Berman.

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