Reaction to debt relief deal for Ghana

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The Ghanaian government has reported that Ghana’s official creditor committee has reached a deal to restructure the country’s debt.

Reacting to the announcement, Bernard Anaba from the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) in Ghana said:

“It is good progress with the bilateral creditors, but now Ghanaians expect the private creditors to step in and cancel the majority of the debt. It will enable Ghana’s economy to recover and deliver for the people who are suffering.”

Heidi Chow, Executive Director at Debt Justice said:

“Now is the time for Ghana’s private lenders like BlackRock to agree substantial debt cancellation. Private companies have been profiteering at the expense of people in Ghana for years through charging high interest rates. Rather than just waiting for private creditors to do the right thing, the UK should pass legislation to force them to agree to a fair amount of debt cancellation.”


All of Ghana’s bonds are governed by English law. In March, the UK Parliament’s International Development Select Committee called on the UK government to “consult on the introduction of legislation to compel or incentivise participation of private creditors in the Common Framework [the G20’s debt relief scheme which Ghana is using]”.[1] In 2010 the UK passed the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act which enforced the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries debt relief initiative on private creditors.

Of the $20.5 billion debt Ghana owes to bilateral and commercial creditors included in the debt restructuring under the Common Framework, $16.8 billion (82%) is owed to Western private creditors. [2]

Group of creditorsDebt stock owed% of total bilateral and commercial owed included in debt restructuring
Western commercial16.8 billion82%
Chinese commercial0.3 billion1%
Chinese bilateral1.6 billion8%
Other bilateral1.8 billion9%

Ghana owes an additional $10.3 billion to multilateral institutions, which is not being included in the debt restructuring.

[1] https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5803/cmselect/cmintdev/146/report.html   recommendation 10

[2] Calculated by Debt Justice from the World Bank Debt Statistics Database

Debt Justice (formerly Jubilee Debt Campaign) is a UK charity working to end poverty caused by unjust debt through education, research and campaigning: https://debtjustice.org.uk/ 

The Integrated Social Development Centre is a rights-based  non-Governmental Organisation that promotes social and economic justice research and advocacy in Ghana and the West Africa sub-Region.

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