Ghanaian press spotlights move by G20 creditors to grant debt relief to Ghana, others

The report that all member countries of the G20 group of economic powers are on board for a restructuring of…

The report that all member countries of the G20 group of economic powers are on board for a restructuring of Ghana’s debt and Paris Club members are ready to take the first step towards forming a creditor committee is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Friday.The Graphic reports that all member countries of the G20 group of economic powers are on board for a restructuring of Ghana’s debt and Paris Club members are ready to take the first step towards forming a creditor committee, an official from the Paris Club told Reuters on Thursday.

Ghana last week requested a restructuring of debt it owes to other governments, becoming the fourth country after Chad, Ethiopia and Zambia to do so under a G20 Common Framework.

The programme, which was launched in 2020, was supposed to streamline the process of coordinating among creditor governments the restructuring of low-income countries’ debts after the pandemic.

However, progress has proven glacial for the first cases, a situation Western countries have said is in part due to a lack of restructuring experience from China, a non-Paris Club G20 creditor that has become a major lender in recent years.

“There is a commitment by the leaders to form the creditor committee, so it’s a question of time. We know that all the G20 members are committed to undertake the debt treatment under the Common Framework,” the Paris Club official told journalists.

The official requested they not be named to speak freely about the restructuring situation.

Forming a creditor committee took a couple of months for previous cases but the official said the Paris Club members were all ready to do so for Ghana and hoped it could be done in a month.

Ghana launched a domestic debt swap plan at the start of December, days before clinching a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a $3bn rescue package.

Its public debt stood at 467.4 billion Ghanaian cedis ($55bn according to Refinitiv Eikon data) in September, of which 42 percent was domestic.

The newspaper says that the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, says the economy will rebound in 2024.

He projected a steady growth of 4.8 per cent in the medium-term between 2024-2026.

Ofori-Atta said growth was projected at 3.9 per cent, 4.9 per cent, and 5.6 per cent, in 2024, 2025, and 2026, respectively.

Ghana’s economy has been facing severe challenges in the last few years, with debt rising to GH¢467 billion, and the local currency depreciating by over 50 per cent in 2022.

This prompted the country to seek help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who late last year gave a staff approval for a US$ 3 billion programme for the government.

The programme is, however, dependent on the country’s ability to restructure its debts which has reached unsustainable levels.

Although the government has announced a Debt Restructuring Programme, this programme has been met with stiff opposition from some groups and individuals, with some even threatening legal action.

This has led some analysts and market watchers to predict that 2023 will be a tougher year for the country, with the IMF even predicting a global economic recession in 2023.

In a statement at the 74th Annual New Year School and Conference, Mr Ofori Atta, however, gave an assurance that the country would soon return to growth path and accelerate its economic transformation.

“We are optimistic about the prospect of our dear country,” he stated.

The Graphic also reports that the Asante Gold Corporation is on course to meet its 400,000 ounces’ gold production target after recording a 20.7 per cent increase in average monthly gold production for November and December 2022, as compared with the prior two months.

 The increases were recorded from its Bibiani and Chirano Gold Mines, all located in Ghana.

In November and December, gold production on a combined basis for Bibiani and Chirano totaled 47,954 ounces for a monthly average of 23,977 ounces, up 20.7 per cent from previous 39,731 ounces or a monthly average of 19,866 ounces for September and October.

The November and December gold production monthly average was up 34.4 per cent from the monthly average of 17,834 ounces’ gold from August to October, 2022, Asante’s third fiscal quarter.

In a release, the company said it also continued its record of no lost time from injuries, consolidated preliminary gold production of 23,760 and 24,180 ounces respectively for November and December; and completed final US$30 million deferred payment, completing the Bibiani acquisition.

The company also completed US$54 million in first and second tranche payments on the Company’s gold forward sale agreement in October 2022 and January 2023 through the delivery of 16,249.60 and 14,113.51 ounces of gold, respectively.

The CEO of Asante Gold Corporation, Dave Anthony, in the release stated that “over the past 12 months Asante has been transformed from an early-stage exploration company to a mid-tier gold producer.

“The significant production gains in November and December bode well for the achievement of our 400,000-ounce target from Bibiani and Chirano for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2024. Over the past five months we have made payments totaling US$83.6 million towards closing our Bibiani acquisition and repaying our gold forward sale agreement.”

Looking forward, he said the company would continue to capture the benefits of owning these two nearby operating mines, which incorporate a district scale land package with significant exploration potential.

The Ghanaian Times says that more than 20 Maltese compa­nies are in Ghana to explore investment opportunities avail­able in the various sectors of the economy and form partnerships with their Ghanaian counter­parts.

The week-long trade mission is part of the 3rd Malta-Ghana Business Forum, which was held in Accra on Tuesday to boost trade and investment between the two countries.

It was organised by Trade­Malta, a Maltese firm, and the Maltese Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade in collaboration with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre and other partners.

The forum created a plat­form for business companies from both countries to engage face-to-face with officials in their respective sectors and sign mem­oranda of understanding.

Addressing the participants, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Michael Okyere Baafi, said Malta was one of Ghana’s strategic bilateral partners as the country was fast becoming a home to several Maltese businesses in West Africa.

However, he said the Gha­na-Malta trade and investment were still below their potential with a cumulative trade volume of over $318 million and a balance of trade of $94.6 million in favour of Malta, recorded from 2010 to 2019.

He, therefore, urged prospec­tive investors to consider strategic cooperation for opportunities available under the government’s flagship programmes, including One-District-One Factory.

Mr Baafi also highlighted Industries such as pharmaceuticals, automotive industry, manufactur­ing of machines and machinery components, textiles and gar­ments, industrial chemicals, and industrial starch as potential areas for investment.

He said choosing Ghana as their number one investment destination in Africa was the best decision because of the country’s strong democratic credentials, which has made it a safe haven for investors.

“The government of Ghana will continue to work closely with the Republic of Malta through high-level political and business fora to promote trade and invest­ment between our countries”, he said.

On her part, the Chairperson of Trade Malta, Elizabeth Sant, said Ghana had been central to Malta’s roadmap for Africa because of the country’s socio­economic growth and political stability.

She said there were countless opportunities for collaboration and growth between Malta and Ghana which could be leveraged to form a powerful partnership to drive socio-economic growth for both countries.

“Together, we can fuel Gha­na’s economic transformation and open new doors for Maltese businesses to invest in Ghana’s thriving ecosystem. The Maltese government is, indeed, standing as a catalyst of change by taking con­crete steps to achieve this mutual elevation,” she said.

Follow the live information on our channel