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Paris Club forms committee to discuss Ghana debts ahead of IMF sign-off on $3 bln loan

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Ghana’s official creditors have formed a committee co-chaired by China and France to launch debt restructurings talks, the Paris Club said on Friday, paving the way for a sign-off on a $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan for the country.

The West African nation is struggling through its worst economic crisis in a generation, defaulting on most of its external debt in December and completing a domestic debt exchange in February.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the statement by official creditors provided “the necessary financing assurances for the IMF Executive Board to consider the proposed Fund-supported program and unlock much-needed financing from Ghana’s development partners”.

Ghana secured a staff-level agreement with the IMF for the $3 billion support package in December. But for the money to be disbursed, the IMF executive board must formally approve it – a step that required prior financing assurances from official creditors.

“Creditor committee members are committed to negotiate with the Republic of Ghana terms of a restructuring of their claims to be finalised in a Memorandum of Understanding,” the statement posted by the Paris Club of creditor nations on its website.

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Ghana’s finance ministry said on Twitter the government was ready to go to the IMF board.

Reuters reported first on Thursday that the creditor committee would be formally launched and confirm its support.

Ghana is negotiating its international debt rework under the Group of 20’s Common Framework platform.

Some $5.4 billion of debt to official creditors has been earmarked for restructuring, according to government data. The nation is also in talks to rework $14.6 billion of debt to private overseas creditors.

Like other smaller, riskier emerging-market countries including Sri Lanka and Zambia, Ghana faces a debt overhaul after its already strained finances buckled under the economic fallout from COVID-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ghana’s international bonds rose sharply on Friday’s news with some issues up as much as 1.3 cents in the dollar, though they still trade at deeply distressed levels between 36 cents and 40 cents, Tradeweb data showed.

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