Moody’s changes Ghana’s economic outlook rating from stable to positive

International Credit Ratings Agency, Moody’s has affirmed Ghana’s long-term issuer and senior unsecured bond ratings at B3 and revised Ghana’s economic outlook ratings from stable to positive.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

In a statement explaining its decision, Moody’s said its decision is due to its rising confidence that Ghana’s institutions and policy settings will lead to fiscal stability among others as a result of the reforms implemented under the recent IMF reform programme.

“The decision to assign a positive outlook reflects Moody’s rising confidence that the country’s institutions and policy settings will foster improved macroeconomic and fiscal stability over the medium term, in part as a consequence of the reforms implemented under the recent IMF reform program. Those reforms are beginning to bear fruit, as seen for example in the return to primary fiscal surpluses, measures to smooth the debt maturity profile and increasingly sustainable growth prospects.”

“Pressures and risks remain, as evidenced by persistent revenue challenges, a potential repeat of pre-election fiscal cycles, and the emergence of significant arrears and further contingent liabilities in the energy sector, all contributing to rising public debt. The positive outlook reflects increasing confidence that the government will manage those pressures in such a way as to sustain and enhance external and fiscal stability,” the statement added.

According to Moody’s, it decision to affirm the B3 rating, “balances, for now, those positive medium-term trends and existing challenges.”

“A key constraint on the rating is the country’s significant exposure to international capital flow reversals, which tend to coincide with exchange rate volatility and rising external and domestic borrowing costs, putting pressure on already weak debt affordability.”

Ghana has been rated at B3/Negative outlook by Moody’s since 2015. But in September 2016, the rating changed from negative to stable under former President John Dramani Mahama’s regime.

Then flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, described Moody’s rating as inaccurate.

Nana Akufo-Addo at the time said “Is NDC taking the massive unemployment rate in our country into account? This is not the way that the Ghanaian people want to be governed. They expect to be governed with truth not with deception, with honesty and not with lies, with policy and not with propaganda.”

More on Moody’s rating of Ghana

According to Moordy’s, Ghana’s rating has for some time now been constrained by two related factors:

“First, by the challenges its policymaking institutions have experienced in establishing a consistent set of policies which support macroeconomic and financial stability, and which survive changes of government.”

“Second, by the high level of external commercial debt holdings which, taken alongside limited net foreign exchange reserves, exposes the government and the balance of payments to a loss of international investors’ confidence in policymakers’ ability to sustain economic and financial stability, raising the risk of a fiscal and/or balance of payments crisis.”

But in recent years the statement said “Ghana has seen a number of positive developments in key credit metrics, which partly reflect the institutional and fiscal reforms implemented under the four-year IMF program that was completed in April 2019.”

“These include a return to sustained economic growth at around 5% on average, supported by the development of domestic hydrocarbon resources and the prospect of sustained non-oil growth driven by the restoration of power supply and renewed infrastructure investment, a structural improvement in the current account dynamics, and fiscal reforms which have resulted in primary surpluses since 2017.”

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