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IMF board set to approve $600 mln loan for Ghana on Friday – sources

Yoopya with Reuters

LONDON/ACCRA, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board is due to meet on Friday to approve a $600 million rescue loan payout to Ghana, three sources told Reuters, after the country reached a deal to restructure $5.4 billion of official creditor debt.

The board date is expected to be published in the IMF’s public calendar on Tuesday, one of the sources said. All the sources requested anonymity to speak on sensitive matters.

Ghana struck a deal with its bilateral lenders, including China and France, late last week, a key step to unlocking the second tranche of IMF funding under a $3 billion bailout.

Ghana’s finance ministry and the IMF did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva welcomed the debt deal agreement on Friday, saying it clears the path for the executive board’s first review of Ghana’s programme.

A sign off by the board is usually seen as a formality once a date has been agreed.

The West African country defaulted on most external debt in December 2022 after servicing costs soared.

It also needs to reach a relief deal with private holders of about $13 billion in international bonds.

The bonds rose almost 1 cent on the dollar on Monday, with the 2042 maturity up the most, climbing 0.82 cents to 43.09 cents, its highest level since early November.

“Recently, China encouraged all parties to overcome technical difficulties and narrow differences, and finally led all parties to reach a basic consensus on Ghana’s debt settlement plan… on January 8,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Monday.

Some members of the Official Creditor Committee, which is co-chaired by China and France, are still “going through their internal procedures,” she told reporters at a regular news briefing.

Ghana is aiming to restructure $20 billion of external debt, which totalled about $30 billion at the end of 2022, under the Common Framework, a debt restructuring process set up by the G20 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has targeted cutting $10.5 billion from payments due between 2023-2026.

The IMF second tranche payout, once signed off, should also trigger $550 million in additional World Bank funding, Ghana’s finance ministry said on Friday.

Reporting by Jorgelina do Rosario and Maxwell Akalaare Adombila, Additional reporting by Liz Lee in Beijing, Writing by Rachel Savage, Editing by Karin Strohecker, Andrew Cawthorne and Bernadette Baum

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IMF board set to approve $600 mln loan for Ghana on Friday – sources