Ghana looks to get in bed with Japanese bond investors ahead of its $2.5 billion bond issuance

Seeking to expand the number of sovereign bond holders in its portfolio, Ghana plans to discuss with Japanese investors this week, ahead of its $2.5 billion-worth bond issuance that is scheduled to take place by the end of April.

Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, on Sunday revealed that he is considering the prospect of having a yen-denominated Samurai bond issuance.

Ghanaian government officials, including the West African nation’s Finance Minister and a deputy governor of the central bank, plan to take a 5-day trip to Japan from April 9 to April 14, to meet with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation aside other investors.

The finance ministry via a statement noted that, “to broaden and expand the investor base of Ghana’s bonds, the finance minister and the deputy governor will hold strategic meetings with portfolio and asset managers where they hope to whip up appetite for Ghanaian instruments,” Reuters reported.

Ghana is the first African country to co-list a Eurobond on the local exchange, as its 10-year Eurobond in 2016 was listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange to afford local, foreign and prospective investors the opportunity to buy and trade on the secondary market. Ghana successfully issued new Eurobonds in 2016, raising $750 million at a yield of 9.25 percent that was more than five times oversubscribed.

With plans to issue up to $2.5 billion of sovereign debt including a $1 billion Eurobond in the second quarter of 2018, the cocoa producer and exporter is in the league of African countries looking to issue bonds before yields increase as a result of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy-tightening path.

In past months, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria and  Senegal have all issued foreign currency bonds this year, bringing the continent’s issuance so far in 2018 to total of $12.8 billion.