ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana began talks with the International Monetary Fund on Monday over an IMF-backed lending program in a bid to ease economic hardship that has sparked street protests, the government said in a statement.
An IMF team of experts is discussing policies and reforms with officials at Ghana’s Ministry of Finance and Central Bank after the West African country requested an IMF loan in July.
The government of Ghana, a major producer of gold and cocoa, is struggling to tame accelerating inflation, reduce public debt and bolster the local currency. The balance of payments deficit ballooned to nearly $2.5 billion at the end of June from about $935 million in March.
The IMF mission is scheduled to continue until October 7.
“The prerequisite for a program is to confirm that Ghana’s debt is on a sustainable path,” the Ministry of Finance said, adding that debt sustainability analysis is underway.
The government is also working on a post-Covid-19 economic program that will form the basis for negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. The statement added without further details that the program will aim to ensure debt and macroeconomic stability through major structural reforms and social protection.
Ghana’s central bank rescheduled its next interest rate decision to October 7 from September 26 last week to coincide with the end of the mission.