Ghana is optimistic of concluding the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to get the support of the fund by March.
This is because the issues surrounding the domestic debt exchange programme, one of the requirements, has been “virtually concluded”, paving the way for the country to go the full hog.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo gave this assurance when he held discussions with the visiting German Federal Minister of Finance, Christian Lindner last Friday at the Jubilee House in Accra.
He said the main concerns of the government include the process of concluding talks with the IMF, as well as the specific assistance that would help Ghana fast-track the process of its economic recovery.
“We have already taken one important step forward in concluding a staff level agreement with the IMF. One of the steps was the domestic debt exchange programme which encountered a lot of difficulty; but it has now been virtually concluded.
“We are now looking towards going the full hog and concluding the agreement. We’re hoping that will be done by the middle of March,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Germany’s Finance Minister was in Ghana for bilateral talks with the government and the business communities and also to assure Ghana of Germany’s support to help Ghana get out of its current economic challenges.
He was accompanied by an entourage made up of technocrats and Members of Parliament of Germany’s federal Parliament, the Bundestag.
Mr Lindner said the delegation was in the country because although they saw economic challenges in Ghana, they believed they could be turned into opportunities for bilateral trade.
He said he had already had fruitful and constructive exchanges of views with his Ghanaian counterpart, Ken Ofori-Atta, on the current situation and how Germany could be of help to overcome the current situation.
After months of speculation, Ghana, on July 1, 2022, announced that it was going to the IMF to seek support.
Subsequently, the government, in December 2022, reached a staff-level agreement with the fund as part of processes leading to a bailout.
President Akufo-Addo welcomed the pledge by Germany to help the country overcome its current economic challenges and appealed to the German government to lend its support in that direction.
He explained that one very important consideration was the financial stability fund that had been promised Ghana, which was one of the key outcomes of negotiations, and said the voice of the German government was needed in trying to bring that into being.
He was happy that Germany was willing to help in that regard.
“We count on Germany, as one of our privileged partners, not just in Europe but in the world. I am pleased to hear the statement of willingness to do what you can to assist us in the difficult economic situation in which we are,” the President emphasised.
President Akufo-Addo also commended Germany for providing military assistance to West Africa to deal with the Jihadist insurgencies, a move he described as “very concrete and highly acceptable”.
“We have to find a way of bringing the insurgency in West Africa to a close. If we don’t, all these other things that we want to do to develop our society and economy will be very difficult. It is eliciting a great deal of resources that we can hardly afford and are now being diverted for security, support and initiatives,” he added.
He said the increasing activities of the insurgents were disturbing the entire region, with Ghana directly in the line of fire because Burkina Faso was its northern neighbour.
The President said in the last six weeks, more than 4,000 people from Burkina Faso had taken refuge in Ghana, saying those were the ones the refugee board could officially count, with many more unaccounted for.
Mr Lindner reiterated the call he had made earlier for an international credit committee to help Ghana.
Earlier, at a joint press conference with Mr Ofori-Atta, Mr Lindner had, said he had also met Ghanaian business leaders and managers of financial institutions on how “Germany can be of help to Ghana to overcome the current situation”.
He advocated the immediate formation of an international credit committee under the common framework to help Ghana restructure its debt.
“For Germany, it is essential to see a fair burden sharing among all creditors. We need a creditor committee as soon as possible. I would like to call on all creditors to join the efforts as swiftly as possible,” he said, and reminded China, Ghana’s largest bilateral trading partner, of its responsibilities as an important bilateral creditor to participate in the programme.
“We have to find new approaches to the over indebtedness of low-income countries and the common framework is part of this solution and Germany is willing to play its role,” he said.
The German Finance Minister said although Ghana was experiencing economic challenges, Germany was optimistic that it could be turned into opportunities for bilateral trade and growth and thus stressed the need for Ghana to be supported.
“We now have the relations with the Paris Club, the common framework. We are looking for, as quickly as possible, a committee to be established, so we will have a body with whom we can engage to bring about those discussions as quickly as possible,” he added.
Mr Lindner further indicated that the stability and security of the West African region was essential for security in Europe, and so Germany would provide support to keep the sub-region stable and secure.