Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta is heading to China for talks with the Chinese officials on debt restructuring programme.
Government wants China to grant Ghana an exemplary debt treatment solution.
The Finance Minister left the shores of Ghana on Sunday March 19, 2023 where he will be visiting Ethiopia before heading to China.
Ofori-Atta’s trip to Beijing is hinged on efforts to secure a deal for restructuring of Ghana’s bilateral debts with the Asian economic powerhouse.
Though Ghana is seeking a $3 billion facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the need to restructure both domestic and external debts has been given as a key conditionality.
China is a key player relative to Ghana’s external debtors, holding about $1.9 billion of Ghana’s $5.5 billion bilateral debt.
Talks with China were originally slated for mid-February but they were postponed to late March 2023.
Ofori-Atta, has however met with representatives of the Chinese government and its quasi-agencies in Accra since the postponement was announced following a request for the restructuring of $1.9billion owed to China.
The Chinese delegation, as part of the three-day mission, had met with the Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Minister for Finance and technical teams from the Ministry for Finance.
The Chinese ambassador to Ghana, Lu Kun, also hosted the delegation at a luncheon. In attendance were members of the Chinese delegation, the Minister for Finance; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey; Ghana’s Ambassador to China, Dr Winfred Nii Okai Hammond; and officials of the Ministry for Finance.
Speaking at the luncheon, Ofori-Atta thanked the Chinese government for their long-standing cooperation and support for Ghana. He emphasised the need to keep and strengthen that relationship, whilst working towards an exemplary debt treatment solution that could serve as a model for China’s future engagements with other African countries.
Despite securing an IMF Staff-Level Agreement last year, government is undertaking external restructuring of its debts in order to get a Board Level approval later this month.
The first two months of 2023 saw a serious domestic debt restructuring programme adopted under the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).
The government secured a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in December for a US$3 billion loan, but the money’s approval is contingent on it restructuring its debt of GHC467.4 billion (US$39 billion).
Ghana owed about US$13 billion in Eurobonds and US$4 billion in bilateral loans in September 2022, of which US$1.7 billion is owed to China, according to the International Institute of Finance.
By Vincent Kubi