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IMF, Ghana agree on $3 billion financing deal



Ghana has reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a $3 billion bailout loan, the IMF announced Tuesday, as the country faces a severe economic crisis.

Already burdened by high debt, Ghana is facing historic inflation of more than 40 percent and a collapse in the value of its currency – the cedi – economic difficulties exacerbated since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“I am pleased to announce that the IMF team has reached an agreement with the Ghanaian authorities on a three-year program (…) under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) in the amount (…) of about 3 billion U.S. dollars,” said the IMF mission chief in Ghana, Stephane Roudet.

The loan “aims to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability while laying the foundation for stronger and more inclusive growth,” Roudet added in a statement.

The agreement must now be approved by the IMF Executive Board in Washington, he continued.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has come under fire for his handling of the economic crisis and in particular for seeking IMF assistance, having once promised a “Ghana without aid.

Many Ghanaians fear that with this agreement the government will be forced to impose austerity measures that will further burden the population, which is already facing soaring prices.

Ghana is a major producer of cocoa and gold and has oil and gas reserves, but its debt service payments have skyrocketed. And like the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, it has been hit hard by the consequences of the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine.


Togo: Government expects economic growth of 6.6% in 2023




Togo should record economic growth of 6.6% (real GDP) this year. The forecast was disclosed last Wednesday, by the minister of finance, Sani Yaya, during the council of ministers.

Yaya, on the occasion, presented the country’s economic situation in Q3 2022, but also the region’s and the world’s.

According to the official, the quarter was good for Togo. The national situation in the third quarter of 2022 was mainly characterized by activity growth in several economic sectors, compared to the same period in 2021, he said.

The performance, Yaya added, “aligns with estimates laid in the macroeconomic framework of October 2022, which predicted real GDP to grow at 5.8% in 2022 and 6.6% in 2022.”

At the sub-regional level (WAEMU), economic activity “remained dynamic”, with a year-on-year growth rate of 5.7%.

Source: Togo First

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Cedi appreciation not by chance; gov’t will sustain gains made – Akufo-Addo




President Akufo-Addo has stated that the appreciation of the cedi against all major trading currencies is a result of deliberate policy interventions introduced by Government over the last few months.

According to President Akufo-Addo, “the strengthening of the cedi has not happened by chance, but through the implementation of deliberate policies by Government, in collaboration with the Bank of Ghana.”

These measures, he said, include “cedi liquidity tightening measures, resulting in the offloading of forex, as a store of value, by speculators; the improvement of forex flows from remittances and the mining sector; and the reaching of a staff level agreement with the IMF for a US$3 billion package.”

The President made this known on Sunday, 18th December 2022, when he delivered an address at the centenary celebration of the Ga Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, held at the Black Star Square, Accra.

Addressing the congregation, which included the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, he stated that, with appropriate policy, determination and hard work the part of Government, things are beginning to turn around.

Whilst acknowledging that the country was by no means “out of the woods yet”, he assured that Government will continue to work hard to maintain and sustain the gains made.

“Indeed, in the weeks ahead, the Bank of Ghana will continue with the purchases of forex from the mining and oil sectors to enhance liquidity supply to the market; continue with the single, unified forex forward auction and some modest targeted bilateral support to critical imports; and the implementation of the gold for oil swap transaction, which will significantly remove forex pressures on the cedi,” the President said.

It is in view of this that he added his voice to those of GUTA, GRTCC and others to appeal to manufacturers, traders and transport operators who, at the height of the cedi’s recent depreciation, increased prices of goods and services, to reduce their prices now that the cedi is re-gaining much of its strength.

“I believe this is not only a fair request, but also a just one, and I urge all of you to join me in this clarion call, so we can all have a more pleasant Christmas,” he added.

National Cathedral

Thanking the Presbyterian Church of Ghana for the support it continues to give for the construction of the National Cathedral.

He stated that, upon completion, the National Cathedral will serve not only as the country’s collective thanksgiving “to the Almighty for the blessings He has bestowed on our nation, sparing us the ravages of civil war that have bedevilled the histories of virtually all our neighbours, and the outbreak of deadly mass epidemics, but also as a rallying point for the entire Christian Community of Ghana, which represents seventy plus percent (70+%) of the population.”

The President, therefore, asked the Ga Presbytery, and, indeed, all Christians, to continue to pray for Ghana’s peace and unity, so the nation can move forward in unity.

“I need the support of every Ghanaian, together with the prayers of the Church, to help me and my government carry out our mandate successfully. Pray for me so that Almighty God will continue to give me wisdom, strength, courage and compassion to enable me execute my duties as a good leader. With Him, all things are possible, as the Battle is the Lord’s!! For this too shall pass!!”, President Akufo-Addo said.

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Visa to invest $1B in Africa over the next five years




mage Credits: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg / Getty Images

Global payments giant Visa says it will invest $1 billion by 2027 to expand its investments in Africa amidst a digital payments boom on the continent.

Visa chief Al Kelly announced this pledge on Wednesday during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a sub-event in the broader U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, a three-day event where U.S. President Joe Biden invited heads of state and senior government officials from Africa to discuss several issues ranging from food security to climate change.

“Visa has been investing in Africa for several decades to grow a truly local business, and today our commitment to the continent remains as firm and unwavering as ever,” said the Visa CEO in a statement. “Every day, Visa supports digital commerce and money movement in every country across the continent, and Africa remains central to Visa’s long-term growth plans. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners to advance the financial ecosystem, accelerate digitization and to build resilient, innovative, and inclusive economies that will create shared opportunity and further spur Africa’s digital economy.”

Per the statement, the pledge will further scale Visa’s operations in Africa and deepen collaboration with strategic partners, including governments, financial institutions, mobile network operators, fintechs and merchants.

There are currently more than 500 million people in Africa who are underbanked or unbanked, less than 50% of the continent’s adult population have made or received digital payments and more than 40 million merchants do not accept digital payments, according to Visa. After several years of investing via various partnerships and thus playing a significant part in Africa’s current digital payments boom, the payment giant believes this new investment, spread over five years, will facilitate additional opportunities to expand financial inclusion on the continent.

“Africa is experiencing an unprecedented digital acceleration, with a growing number of consumers, merchants and businesses realizing the benefits of secure and convenient digital payments to fuel commerce and money movement,” said Aida Diarra, the senior vice president of Visa Sub-Saharan Africa. “Over the past year, Visa has continued growing our investment in Africa through new offices, new innovations and solutions, and programs that are directly supporting financial inclusion. The investment pledge outlines our long-term commitment to Africa and the work we will do to help advance the financial ecosystem.”

As Diarra stressed, Visa, as part of its commitment to seeing the continued growth of digital payments (including the immense opportunity in crypto payments) in Africa, has increased its number of offices across the continent to 10, recently establishing local operations for the first time in Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. These offices support payments in 54 countries, noted Visa, which has invested several millions of dollars in African payments companies such as Interswitch, Flutterwave, JUMO and Paystack.

Other strategic investments underscored by the firm to advance its Africa expansion include opening an innovation studio in Nairobi this April; introducing newer options for consumers and merchants to make and receive payments, such as the Tap to Phone; integrating Visa Direct, its global money movement network, into African solutions; and running the Visa Everywhere Initiative program, where various African startups have showcased their payment innovations.

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