APRM recommends strategy, framework for engaging international credit rating agencies 

By Issah Mohammed

Accra, July 10, GNA – The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), an institution of the African Union, has urged Ghana to develop a national strategy and a structured framework to guide engagements with international credit rating agencies. 

This would entail institutionalising a dedicated credit rating liaison team to ensure consistent and transparent communication and the establishment of a standing committee on sovereign credit ratings to improve coordination and response strategies. 

The recommendations were based on findings of a technical support mission on credit ratings which the APRM carried out from March 11, 2024 to March 15, 2024. 

The mission entailed comprehensive consultations with various stakeholders such as the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Ghana, the Securities Exchange Commission, Ghana National Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the Institute of Directors. 

Speaking to findings of the mission at a press briefing, Dr McBride Nkhalamba, Director of Governance and Specialised Reporting at APRM, said a national strategy on credit rating was needed to help outline clear action plans to address previous rating agency concerns and enhance the overall rating outlook of the country. 

“This strategic approach will not only guide responses in future rating assessments but also demonstrate the government’s commitment to fiscal transparency and accountability, a key obligation of the state,” he said. 

He said the mission identified gaps in institutional and inter-agency coordination regarding the proactive engagement with the credit rating agencies beyond the routine review period. 

He also mentioned the need for a review of legislation to include regulations that would ensure that the operations of international credit rating agencies aligned with global standards. 

The mission also asked the government to develop internal capacity to manage credit rating agencies to reduce reliance on costly external consultants that have yielded minimal results. 

“The mission encouraged Ghana to institute periodic meetings on sovereign rating methodology transparency with the rating agencies to enhance the understanding of the assessment process that is undertaken by the rating agencies.” Dr Nkhalamba said. 

Ms Sonia Patricia Jenny Essobamdje, Chief Innovative Finance, and Capital Markets Section, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), called on African countries to develop domestic markets to raise capital and secure their economic future. 

Doing so, she said, would make the establishment of the African Credit Rating Agency (ACRA) relevant. 

“Credit ratings exist because there is a market, there is a bond market and you cannot have a bond market if you don’t have a well-developed capital market where you can actually issue such instruments,” she said. 

Mr Laud Mansfield Badoo, Governing Council member of the National African Peer Review Mechanism, underscored the importance of maintaining good governance practices and effective risk management frameworks for state institutions. 

He observed that positive credit ratings based on proper regulations and robust corporate governance could increase trust from investors and attract investment. 

“Many African countries rely on state-owned enterprises, SOEs, as central to their national development strategies. Yet, irregular practices and corruption have often undermined their potential. So, strengthening the efficiency, competitiveness, and commercial visibility of SOEs through good governance is critical,” he said.