Ghana

Ghanaians kicked off a series of planned protests aimed at pressuring President Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration to do more to create jobs for the youth, improve health-care and education standards, and bring down living costs, Bloomberg News reported. The demonstrations are being organized under the social media banner #FixTheCountry and were joined by thousands of people wearing masks and carrying placards, who marched in the streets of Accra, the capital, on Wednesday, a public holiday in the West African nation.
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Mexico sold its own ESG bond in early July linked to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, which include gender equality, zero hunger and clean water initiatives, Bloomberg reported. Slovenia, meantime, wowed investors in late June with a sustainability note for either green or social spending, which was more than 10 times oversubscribed. “Sovereigns are looking to undertake more social bonds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Morgan Stanley strategists wrote last month.

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Offshore drilling rig contractor Maersk Drilling said on Thursday it saw some signs of market recovery as it reported that orders in the first quarter were at the highest level in more than three years, Reuters reported. The company, which had already on Wednesday lifted its 2021 earnings guidance, said it added $730 million in new contracts in the first quarter, including a $370 million contract awarded by Tullow off Ghana. That was the highest level of new contracts since the fourth quarter of 2017. Maersk Drilling's shares, which have risen 40% this year, rose 2% on Thursday.
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Ghana’s planned Eurobond sale will be a key test of appetite for African issuers after a raft of nations sought debt relief, shaking investor confidence, Bloomberg News reported. Strong demand for the sale, which includes Africa’s first zero-coupon dollar bond, would encourage other African countries to tap international capital markets for money needed to roll over debt and finance strained budgets. That would also sidestep the need to seek debt relief and the questions that raises over market access, according to Gemcorp Capital LLP.
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Ghana will begin a roadshow next week to raise $5 billion from the international capital markets, as it seeks to close its 2021 budget financing gap, Bloomberg News reported. The nation wants to start marketing the debt to investors after Friday’s budget presentation, a Ministry of Finance official said by phone on Tuesday. The meetings would be held virtually due to coronavirus restrictions, said the official. This would be the first time Ghana will hold virtual meetings with investors prior to an international debt sale.

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Ghana is setting a $2-billion estimate for the restructuring of contracts with independent power producers to reduce the country’s bill for excess capacity and to settle arrears, according to two people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reported. While Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta already pledged to allocate $1 billion from February’s Eurobond sale, the country is also talking with multilateral lenders such as the World Bank to help raise a further $1 billion, said the people who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

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Ghana is considering to buy out the debts of independent power producers as a step toward restructuring contracts and reducing its power bill, according to people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reported. West Africa’s second-biggest economy currently pays as much as $500 million per year for power it doesn’t consume and is in talks to end the practice. Deals that obliged the government to pay for power regardless of whether or not the supplies were needed, have left the country with almost double the generation capacity it requires to meet peak demand of 2,700 megawatts.

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Ghana is seeking to prosecute a former finance minister, industry regulator and deputy central bank governor in a bid to stamp out alleged collusion with company executives that helped contribute to the West African nation’s biggest banking crisis, Bloomberg News reported. The former officials are being charged along with nine other banking executives on charges ranging from money laundering to defrauding depositors in the aftermath of a three-year industry clean-up -- the costs of which could escalate to 20 billion cedis ($3.7 billion).

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Ghana plans to use as much as $1 billion of the Eurobonds it sold last week to help restructure the country’s obligations to independent power producers, said Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta. The West African country is in talks to re-negotiate supply deals with the power companies known as IPPs, Bloomberg News reported. The currently take-or-pay agreements mean the government is billed even for unused electricity. “We are going to put about $1 billion aside from the proceeds of the Eurobond to look at how we resolve those IPP issues,” Ofori-Atta said in a broadcast on Joy FM.

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Ghana’s efforts to raise domestic revenue are beginning to bear fruit and will help the country to be less dependent on debt, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said a day after the nation sold $3 billion in Eurobonds, Bloomberg News reported. West Africa’s second-biggest economy received about $15 billion in offers for the debt issuance that included a tranche of sub-Saharan Africa’s longest-yet Eurobond with an average life of 40 years. The sale would increase Ghana’s debt burden, which the International Monetary Fund estimated was 63% of gross domestic product at the end of 2019.

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