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    Talks with China over $1.7bn debt positive, encouraging – Ofori-Atta

    The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has revealed that conversations with China over Ghana’s debt have been positive and encouraging.

    Ghana’s finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta travelled to Beijing on Wednesday to meet Chinese officials to discuss a proposed restructuring of Ghana’s debt, according to a source with knowledge of the talks.

    China on Thursday revealed that it would like to enhance communications with Ghana to seek a proper resolution of Ghana’s debt issue, its foreign ministry said.

    Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remark in response to a question on Ghana’s finance minister visiting Beijing for a proposed restructuring of Ghana’s debt.

    A tweet on the official Twitter page of the Finance Minister on Friday noted that Ghana was looking forward to securing external assurances very soon.

    “So far had very positive and encouraging meetings in China! Looking forward to securing external assurances very soon, even as we pass our outstanding domestic revenue bills back home. Great progress on all fronts.”

    Ghana, which is struggling with its worst economic crisis in a generation, secured a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in December for a $3 billion loan, though asking lenders to provide financing assurances is a condition for the IMF’s board to sign off the programme.

    China is Ghana’s biggest bilateral creditor with about $1.7 billion of debt.

    The government’s current priority is to secure IMF board approval, with the fine details of debt treatment operations to follow later, the source added. The meetings will take place on Thursday and Friday.

    A Chinese delegation visited Ghana this month for initial debt talks which the finance ministry said were “cordial and fruitful”.

    Ghana suspended payments on most of its external debt last year, effectively defaulting, and still needs to negotiate a resolution with its private international bondholders.

    Ghana has already restructured its domestic debt and has requested to rework its bilateral debt under the common framework platform supported by the Group of 20 major economies. An official creditor committee for talks with sovereign creditors is still pending.


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