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Business News of Friday, 21 February 2020

Source: GNA

ATI presence will mitigate Ghana's investment risks – Ofori-Atta


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Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, says the presence of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), will help to mitigate Ghana's investment risks, to unlock additional investments and lower the cost of borrowing.

The Agency was going to support Ghanaian banks by providing access to credit insurance that would offer the much needed collateral.

The Minister said this in a speech read for him at its official launch in Accra, on Thursday.

He noted that with the ATI, the banks would have additional and improved revenue streams, something that would aid economic growth.

The local banks would be able to lend more to businesses to assist their expansion to give more jobs, while strengthening the competitiveness of the banks and boosting private sector growth.

Ghana became a full member of the ATI in October 2019 with shareholding valued at US$176 million that was provided with the financial support of KfW, a German state-owned development bank.

The Agency expects to review, and potentially insure, the current pipeline transaction in Ghana valued at US$12billion.

"ATI is a unique institution because the list of benefits it brings to countries goes well beyond insurance.

“It is not a typical insurance company, it operates on the level of investments and trade by supplying the insurance that fuels all the major investments and trade transactions in other regions of the world".

Mr. Ofori-Atta said, in Africa, this type of insurance had been in short supply largely because the economies got a late start to development than the more developed regions.

"As a result, African governments tend to obtain lower credit ratings. Africa also has a risk perception challenge because it is perceived as more risky than other regions, these factors have led to a shortage of investment insurance."

In 2019, ATI insured portfolio transactions across Africa was valued at US$64 billion.

It was able to support such volumes of trade and investments in part because of an impressive network of international financial institutions such as reinsurance companies and financiers.

The Minister said Ghana could benefit enormously from the ATI and encouraged other West African member countries to use its insurance to attract commercial financing at the levels of the more developed economies.

"This means financing at better terms and longer duration, which can help pay off more expensive debts and create a more sustainable debt management process," he added.

The manufacturing and trade sectors would benefit from the ATI through credit insurance to expand their sales beyond Ghana.

Through the ATl’s Regional Liquidity Support Facility (RLSF), backed by KfW, Ghana could help mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.

The Facility was created to help tackle climate Change by supporting renewable energy projects in ATl’s member countries.

The RLSF supports small and mid-scale renewable energy projects with an installed capacity of up to 50 MW and in exceptional cases up to 100 MW by protecting the developers against the risk of delayed payments by public off-takers.

Mr John Lentaigne, the Acting Chief Executive Officer, ATI, said it had successfully helped governments to attract lower-cost financing at longer durations by providing a novel insurance scheme that effectively ‘wraps’ the government’s borrowing requests with insurance.

"ATl can support Ghana’s drive to increase trade with other African countries and internationally in a number of ways”, he added.

ATI is a multilateral and pan-African institution that provides insurance guarantees, which helps its African member governments to attract investments and spur trade with increased access to credit.

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