On Friday, February 3, 2023, the Finance Ministry released the Second Amended and Restated Exchange Memorandum offering to issue new bonds for institutional and individual bondholders invested in Government of Ghana (GoG), ESLA Plc and Daakye Trust Plc bonds to the tune of GH¢130 billion.
The debt exchange programme comes in the wake of challenging economic conditions in 2022 which, according to the finance minister, has left Ghana’s public debt unsustainable. Data from the Bank of Ghana’s Summary of Economic and Financial Data shows that the cedi depreciated by 30% against the US dollar in 2022 while inflation reached 54.1%, a rate not recorded since the 1990s.
Prospects for an economic recovery largely hinge on the receipt of board approval for a $3 billion Extended Credit Facility (ECF) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Disbursements from the fund will provide both budget support to the government and balance of payments support to the central bank. This, in addition to a successful debt exchange programme, will contribute to the reopening of access to the international capital markets for the country and hopefully place the public debt of GHS 575 billion (93.5% of GDP) back on a sustainable path.
While every significant investment decision one takes should involve a licensed financial advisor, as someone who has closely followed a wide range of investments in Ghana, I believe I can share some insights that would prove useful to people who are wondering what options are available to them on the Ghanaian market and beyond.
The debt exchange has unsettled many investors (domestic and international) who considered government securities as the best form of investment in Ghana. Billions flowed into government bonds and for good reason – the minimum capital required was low, the returns were generous, and the risk was (supposedly) non-existent. However, the debt exchange has