According to Reuters, Ghana’s official creditors are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss restructuring some $5.4 billion in loans to the country, a key step needed to secure its next tranche of funding from the International Monetary Fund.
The bilateral lenders, including the governments of China and France who co-chair the Official Creditor Committee (OCC), hold around a quarter of Ghana’s $20 billion external debt earmarked for restructuring
The upcoming OCC meeting is expected to primarily address an agreement concerning a “cut-off date,” representing the point beyond which new loans from bilateral creditors will not undergo restructuring, according to sources familiar with the matter. The choice of this date has posed challenges in Ghana’s debt rework.
While some creditors advocate for December 31, 2022, as the cut-off date, citing Ghana’s default earlier that month, others favor March 24, 2020, aligning with the initiation of the Group of 20’s debt service suspension initiative (DSSI) during the COVID crisis. Ghana did not participate in the DSSI.
Preceding the OCC meeting on January 8, the Paris Club, excluding China among its permanent members, will convene to discuss the matter.
The Paris Club has circulated a technical note on Ghana, proposing December 2022 as the cut-off date, but an agreement among creditors is pending.
An agreement on the cut-off date is considered crucial for advancing towards a comprehensive debt restructuring agreement.
The West African nation, facing economic challenges, particularly inflation and rising debt servicing costs, requires a debt restructuring accord with official creditors to secure the next $600 million payout from a $3 billion rescue loan approved by the IMF executive board.
Ghana’s appeal for bilateral debt restructuring under the Common Framework, established by the G20 during the COVID-19 pandemic, is part of its efforts.
Additionally, negotiations with overseas bondholders, including major asset managers like BlackRock, PIMCO, Vontobel, AllianceBernstein, and Neuberger Berman, are ongoing to restructure its international debt exceeding $13 billion.
The IMF program necessitates financing assurances regarding debt relief from bilateral creditors, underscoring the significance of the impending discussions.