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Business News of Monday, 6 May 2013

Source: Chris Kay/Bloomberg

Record bond sales make Africa attractive for investors

Sub-Saharan African nations like Ghana and Nigeria are selling $7 billion of debt this year, more than in the past five years combined, as yields more than double those of treasuries, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

Investors previously put off by by violence and corruption in the region are now looking at Sub-Saharan Africa as a place to make serious money regardless of possible risks.

With the International Monetary Fund forecasting growth in sub-Saharan Africa to outpace all regions except emerging Asia in 2013, eight countries from Ghana to Kenya have sold or plan to offer record amounts of bonds overseas. Average yields on African debt fell 88 basis points in the past 12 months to 4.35 percent, versus 1.74 percent for 10-year Treasuries, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“It’s a hugely exciting story,” Jim O’Neill, the chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management who plans to retire this year, said in an April 23 interview with Bloomberg Television in London. “The only thing one has to be a little bit careful of are many of those markets are still very undeveloped and suddenly there’s a lot of people around the world regarding Africa to be sort of fashionable and trendy.”

Ghana, which has seen yields on its $750 million of Eurobonds due October 2017 fall 343 basis points to 4.82 percent since their October 2007 issue, plans to sell more than $1 billion in dollar debt this year, according to two people with knowledge of the plans.

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