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Ghana doesn’t need IMF aid to manage debt crises – Minister, Ofori-Atta

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Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has announced that the West African country is committed to managing its debt without assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The minister made the declaration at a press conference in Accra on Thursday. He also expressed confidence that government measures were moving the country in the right direction.

“We have committed to not going back to the fund because… the fund knows we are [moving] in the right direction,” Ofori-Atta said.

“It’s about validating the program we have in place and finding other ways of handling our debt.”

The minister’s firm stand comes in the wake of other African countries like ZambiaSomalia, and the Benin Republic struggling with their monetary and capital positions and hanging on to international organizations like the International Monetary Fund to way out of the mess.

Ghana’s public debt which was at about 77% of its gross domestic product at the end of 2021 drove the country into crisis.

The government under President Nana Akufo-Addo has put measures aimed at generating more revenue to strengthen the economy of the West African country.

The controversial electronic levy and the cuts in the salaries of public officials are all part of the measures to restore a depreciating local currency and reassure investors.

Ofori-Atta stressed that the country’s priority for now is to solve the country’s domestic debt, which has interest rates that are three to four times higher than foreign debt.

“We need to decide ourselves what structure would be useful to us,” he added.

According to the World Bank, Ghana’s rapid growth was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the March 2020 lockdown, and a sharp decline in commodity exports. The economy had grown at an average of 7 percent in 2017-19, before experiencing a sharp contraction in the second and third quarters of 2020.

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COVID-19: Friendship renewed as Algeria opens land border with Tunisia

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Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune has announced that it will reopen the land border between the two countries in mid-July.

The border, which starts in the north at the Mediterranean coast, proceeding overland in a broadly southwards directions via a series of overland lines was closed in 2020 during the peak of Covid-19.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune made the announcement at Algiers airport alongside his Tunisian counterpart Kais Saied who was preparing to leave the country after attending the festivities marking the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence.

“We have taken a joint decision to reopen the land borders from July 15.”

Until the pandemic, more than three million Algerians travelled to Tunisia each year, according to local media.

Generally speaking, relations between Algeria and Tunisia have so far been homogenous. Although Algeria postponed the opening of it borders with Tunisia in May.

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The Gambia benefits from World Bank’s $68m grant to revive tourism industry

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The Gambia and the World Bank have sealed a $68m grant deal which will go to support the West African country’s tourism industry, hitherto the biggest contributor to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), before the Coronavirus pandemic hit the global tourism sector, causing a near economic meltdown.

World Bank’s Managing Director of Operations, Axel Van Trotsenburg, who announced the signing of the deal at a ceremony in Gambia’s capital, Banjul, on Tuesday, said the grant is meant to support the diversification and climate resilience of the country’s tourism after the pandemic and economic crisis.

Trotsenburg added that promoting the diversification and climate resilience of tourism will help protect the Atlantic coastline of The Gambia from the effects of climate change.

About 20 per cent of The Gambian economy depends on earnings from its tourism as it is the largest foreign exchange earner for the government but the advent of the pandemic had caused the country’s economic growth to contract by 0.2 percent in 2020, according to the World Bank.

This was as a result of the global restrictions on travelling between 2020 and 2021, which prevented tourists and visitors going to the country, leading to the tourism industry taking a huge hit.

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