Germany, the second largest bilateral creditor to Ghana (only after China), says it is ready to support Ghana in its ongoing debt restructuring process.
Ghana started a Domestic Debt Exchange (DDE) programme last year to restructure about 80 per cent of GH¢137 billion in domestic bonds to ensure debt sustainability. It has also extended a call to its external creditors for support through the G20 common framework.
The debt restructuring forms part of efforts to secure an Executive and Management Board approval of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $3 billion loan-support programme by March 2023 to calm the current economic crisis.
In an engagement with some economics and finance students of the University of Ghana in Accra on Friday, Christian Lindner, Finance Minister of Germany called on external creditors to help Ghana with its debt restructuring.
His engagement with the University community formed part of a two-day visit to Ghana to deepen bilateral relations and explore economic areas for mutual benefits. “I’m completely aware that you’re suffering from severe economic situation and Germany is supportive. We’re expecting a Creditors Committee to negotiate and consider what can be done to relief the burden and return to economic growth in Ghana,” Mr Lindner.
He added that: Germany has a strong interest in West Africa. In all, our security depends on your [economic] stability and we see some economic opportunities in bilateral trade by German investments in Ghana for example and this is why I’m here.” The German Finance Minister noted that while there was the need for short-term international assistance, Ghana’s long-term economic stability and development, rested in its hands.
He, therefore, urged the Government to ensure the optimization of the country’s rich resources and human capital by instituting measures that would boost private sector investment and growth and their participation in the economy’s stability. He also asked the Government to provide favourable conditions for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in the clothing and textiles and digital payment systems sectors to thrive.
Mr Lindner encouraged the students to make the most of the opportunities that higher education brought to them and said: “The decisions you make, efforts you make and the risks you are willing to take, will determine your place in life.” He said he was ready to support Ghanaian students to explore educational opportunities in Germany and enter into the country’s labour force.
Professor Daniel Frimpong Ofori, Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, University of Ghana, described the visit of the Finance Minister as a chance for the students to know and tap into various opportunities in Germany. He said there were enormous opportunities for those who have some knowledge of finance, economics and international relations, and urged the students to tap into them.