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Ghana, Eurobond Holders Reach Tentative Agreement on Debt Restructuring

Ghana has taken a significant step towards stabilizing its economic future by reaching an agreement in principle with its Eurobond holders to restructure $13 billion of its international debt.

This move follows a recently finalized deal with official creditors which aims to alleviate the financial strain caused by a combination of external pressures.

The restructuring agreement involves a notable haircut on the principal amount owed by up to 37% and an extension of the maturity dates of the bonds. This compromise was necessary to meet the requirements of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) debt sustainability analysis, ensuring that the new terms align with Ghana’s economic recovery plans.

Ghana defaulted on a substantial portion of its $30 billion external debt in 2022. This default was precipitated by the compounded effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and the resultant increase in global interest rates. These factors severely impacted Ghana’s economy, prompting the government to seek debt relief and restructuring.

Ghana, much like Zambia, has sought assistance under the G20 Common Framework for debt treatments. This framework is designed to streamline the debt restructuring process and includes the participation of China, a major bilateral lender. Zambia, having been the first African country to default during the pandemic, recently saw its bondholders approve a restructuring plan, setting a precedent for Ghana’s negotiations.

Formal talks between Ghana and two distinct groups of bondholders began in mid-March. The groups included Western asset managers and hedge funds, as well as regional African banks. However, the negotiations hit a roadblock in April when the proposed deal did not align with the IMF’s debt sustainability requirements. This impasse necessitated further discussions to refine the restructuring terms.

Despite the setbacks, the negotiations gained momentum when the revised debt framework shared by the IMF with bondholders facilitated an agreement in principle. The sources involved in the discussions, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the negotiations, indicated that a formal announcement of the deal could be imminent, possibly within the next week.

Responses and Steps

In the intervening time, the Ghanaian finance ministry and the Paris Club, an alliance of creditor nations, had not commented on the agreement due to the late hour. The finance ministry has been instrumental in steering the restructuring talks, demonstrating a commitment to finding a sustainable resolution to the debt crisis.

The successful negotiation with Eurobond holders is a crucial component of Ghana’s broader strategy to stabilize its economy. Earlier this month, Ghana reached a preliminary agreement with its official creditor committee, formalizing a debt restructuring pact initially agreed upon in January. This agreement set the stage for the IMF executive board to conduct a second review of Ghana’s $3 billion loan package on June 28, potentially unlocking a $360 million tranche to support the country’s economic recovery efforts.

The restructuring of Ghana’s debt is expected to provide significant relief to the nation’s economy. By reducing the principal amount and extending the repayment period, Ghana aims to manage its debt more effectively and allocate resources towards critical economic sectors. This move is anticipated to boost investor confidence and create a more stable financial environment.

Moreover, the agreement aligns with Ghana’s broader economic goals, which include enhancing productivity, fostering job creation, and promoting sustainable growth. The successful restructuring could also serve as a model for other nations facing similar debt challenges, demonstrating the efficacy of collaborative negotiations and the importance of aligning with international financial frameworks.

By restructuring $13 billion in international debt, Ghana is poised to create a more sustainable economic path forward. The forthcoming announcement of the finalized deal will likely bring further clarity and optimism to Ghana’s financial landscape, highlighting the nation’s resilience and commitment to economic recovery.


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