Finance Minister justifies call for African credit rating agency, says it’ll ensure a balanced, accurate & comprehensive assessment of credit risks

The Finance Minister Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam has justified calls for for establishing an African sovereign credit rating agency.

He argues this would ensure a balanced, accurate, and comprehensive assessment of credit risks, facilitating access to competitive capital and fostering domestic financial market development across the continent.

In a media interview discussing Ghana’s economy and other African economic issues, the Finance Minister lamented the unfair assessments of developing countries by international rating agencies.

“If we have our own rating agency, we will have an alternative professional second opinion. When challenged, the facts can be brought to bear, and I think the African Development Bank should lead by organizing stakeholders to determine the modalities,” he stated.

Dr. Adam further emphasized that such a stakeholder meeting is crucial to build credibility that would reflect the ratings given to African nations.

According to a United Nations Economic Commission for Africa report, in the first half of 2023, the top rating agencies issued 13 negative decisions to 11 African countries, including downgrades and negative outlook assessments. The report stated, “These developments have reversed the optimism among investors on the international financial markets that African countries are recovering from the devastating Covid-19 economic shocks.”

President Akufo-Addo expressed similar sentiments while addressing the 35th Africa Union summit in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. He said, “We need to guard against the continuing consequential stranglehold of rating agencies, which has affected the cost and access to capital markets for African countries”.

Addressing the 2024 African Development Bank’s Annual Meetings in Nairobi, Kenya, President William Ruto also called on AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina to establish an African Credit Agency and conduct a comprehensive review of African states’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to reflect their true economic status.

President Ruto disclosed how perceptions had impacted Kenya’s credit rating on Eurobond issuance, stating, “Kenya faced higher interest rates due to geopolitical conflicts far removed from its borders, such as the conflict in Niger. Niger is 4,585 kilometers away from Kenya, but perceptions in places like Washington link our fates.”

The three major international rating agencies – Fitch Ratings, Moody’s, and S&P – have come under intense scrutiny as many countries have questioned their sovereign credit ratings.


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