LONDON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund’s executive board has approved a long-awaited $3 billion bailout for Ghana in hopes of combating the country’s economic crisis.
The arrangement will allow for the immediate release of $600 million, with the remaining funds to be made available over the course of the next three years, the IMF said in a statement Wednesday.
Facing soaring inflation, high debt and a weakening currency, Ghana’s government began negotiations with the IMF last July for a bailout package. In December, the IMF agreed after a two-week visit to the West African country.
The IMF funds should help Ghana emerge from a financial crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic but will require changes to the country’s tax system and public spending.
“The combination of large external shocks and preexisting fiscal and debt vulnerabilities precipitated a deep economic and financial crisis in Ghana,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.
The government has launched changes that will “focus on reining in inflation and rebuilding foreign reserve buffers,” she added.
Inflation in Ghana reached 41.2% in April, falling from a more than 20-year high of 54.1% in December, but still well above the central bank’s target of 6% to 10%, according to Trading Economics, which provides global economic information.
Georgieva said the Bank of Ghana, the country’s central bank, will keep raising interest rates to combat inflation, stop financing the government’s budget and allow a flexible exchange rate, among other steps.
Securing additional debt restructuring agreements with external creditors will be key to ensuring Ghana’s debt bailout plan succeeds, the IMF statement said.