Month: June 2014

What’s With All The International Sovereign Bonds Being Issued By African Governments? (Part 2): The Dangers Of Eurobonding

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In my previous post I looked at 1) Why international sovereign bonds have become so attractive to African governments and 2) Why these bonds are so well received in global markets.

Clearly, Eurobonding[1] is fashionable, but is it wise? It can’t all be roses and butterflies….

3. What Are the Risks and Challenges for African Governments in Issuing International Sovereign Bonds?

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 a. Danger Lurks In Current Conditions

African governments are issuing international bonds in an environment where there are, ‘record-low interest rates that prevail in the United States’ and more developed markets in general.[2] Yield hunting has brought investors to Africa’s door but, ‘when global interest rates increase and concerns about the global financial crisis abate, governments in sub-Saharan Africa will have to compete with other issuers for funding’.[3] African governments seem to be cognizant of this which may lead to over-issuing in order to seize the conditions of the moment. Further, there is an air of optimism around Africa and the world is beginning to look at the continent as a truly viable member of the global economy. It seems as though African government are courting this new found attention and perhaps entering into more agreements than advisable. Eurobonding certainly seems to be trendy on the continent with one commentator stating that, ‘Eurobonds have become like stock exchanges, private jets and presidential palaces. Every African leader wants to have one’.[4] I therefore echo Stiglitz’s concerns about Africa’s Eurobond spree when he asks, ‘are shortsighted financial markets, working with shortsighted governments, laying the groundwork for the world’s next debt crisis?’[5] If so, Africa will be impacted far more significantly this time around not least due to the manner in which Eurobonds are integrating African economies into the global financial system. The current conditions spiral into several other risks such as…

b. Over Leveraging Risk

The current environment may cause Africa to over borrow because it’s relatively easy to get the money. However, the IMF is of the opinion that, ‘the rates at which sub-Saharan African countries are borrowing on the international markets are not sustainable.’[6] The rates African governments are getting are,’ sometimes below what many euro area countries are paying’. This rate of borrowing is probably ‘unsustainable in the long run unless these countries are able to generate high and sustainable economic growth and further reduce macroeconomic volatility.­’[7] Africa risks becoming overleveraged.

c. Debt Sustainability

Linked to points a) and b) is debt sustainability or rather the lack thereof. Prior to the Eurobond issue (as of March 2014) Kenya’s GDP to debt ratio stood at 52.2%.[8] Kenya has gone ahead with the issue despite the fact that in the same month of March, the IMF and World Bank ‘raised the red flag over Kenya’s debt’ specifically suggesting that, ‘the debt ratio be kept at not more than 50 per cent of the GDP’.[9] The Eurobond issue exacerbates Kenya’s debt burden and heightens concerns over sustainability. This is a mantra being sung about Africa in general because after a spate of debt forgiveness, ‘many countries’ debt levels are creeping up again, which could undermine the region’s growth boom’.[10] For example, if Ghana, Uganda, Mozambique, Senegal, Niger, Malawi and Benin, ‘continue to borrow at current rates their debt indicators could be back to pre-(debt) relief levels within a decade’[11]. Eurobonding is risky behaviour with grim prognoses.

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d. Defaulting

The scale of funds that African governments are accessing via Eurobonds, which have more stringent conditions that concessional loans, are actually predicated on robust growth of the borrowing economies in order to raise the capital required to meet maturity deadlines. No one can guarantee robust growth and thus defaulting is a real risk. In fact, African countries have already defaulted on Eurobonds, ‘The Seychelles defaulted on a $230 million Eurobond in October 2008…Following election disputes, Côte d’Ivoire missed a $29 million interest payment, which led to a default in 2011 on a bond that was issued in 2010’ and ‘Ghana and Gabon are struggling to find money for a $750 million and $1 billion bond, respectively, on 10-year Eurobonds that will reach maturity in 2017’. [12], [13] In some cases the default has led to government spending cuts, which is problematic (more on this in h.). ­

 e. Poorly Project Selection

Infrastructure projects have usually been a key element of the activities to be funded by Eurobonds due to their multiplier effects on the economy and the fact that African infrastructure needs are dire. However, there is no guarantee that the specific projects selected are the best candidates for such finances. Indeed, the IMF argues that due to factors such as limited administrative capacity, low efficiency of public investment expenditure and governance issues, ‘there is a risk that increased public spending or investment projects financed by bond issuance may be poorly selected or executed and therefore would not render value for money’.[14] Anyone familiar with the African political scene knows that sometimes flagship projects are selected based on their political currency rather than economic or developmental return. Some projects are selected due to the prestige enhancement and legacy effect they will confer African leaders rather than the prudence and pragmatism of the suggested projects. Are African governments choosing the Eurobond-financed projects wisely?

f. Poor Implementation

Poor implementation of the projects for which the funds have been planned is a serious risk because, ‘there are carry costs for not using proceeds and these are greatest when there are delays in projects’.[15] This thought makes one shudder given the ongoing debacle in the Kenyan government’s management of the standard gauge railway project which, if well managed, could have been a clear indication and proof of competent management of funds for infrastructure development. It seems to be proving the opposite. Sadly this project does not stand alone; in fact in response to the Kenya 2014/15 budget in which the Eurobond was incorporated, PWC stated the projects planned by government have inherent risks that, ‘relate to time and cost overruns, which will require a significant upgrade in technical, legal and institutional frameworks to manage and control the delivery of the investments’. [16] If governments do not address such concerns, projects will be implemented poorly which may cause the bonds to mature before the projects are completed, in which case governments may have to rollover the debt.

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g. Rollover Risk

Given the implementation risk and the possibility that planned projects may develop significant delays, roll over risk is very real. Roll over risk is, ‘A risk associated with the refinancing of debt commonly faced by countries (and companies) when their debt is about to mature and needs to be rolled over into new debt. If interest rates rise adversely, they would have to refinance their debt at a higher rate and incur more interest charges in the future’.[17] Bear in mind that in case of Kenya’s Eurobond, the 5 year tranche matures in 2019 and the 10 year one in 2024.[18] These are tight deadlines given the delays current infrastructure projects are experiencing. Please remember that Kenya’s railway gauge project was due to start in November 2013; yet no work has begun to date. That is an 8-month delay with no resolution in sight. Rollover risk is real.

h. Rollovers Are Not Guaranteed due to Perception Risk

Rollovers happen if investors are of the opinion that the borrower is capable of meeting the new terms and deadlines. Africa doesn’t have this luxury. Although currently there is immense optimism about the continent, the reality is that Africa is still a poorly understood market. Further, Africa is still considered a high risk venture and is therefore vulnerable to negative hype that can push the continent back to being the world’s investment pariah. Africa’s perception risk is of particular concern given that, ‘negative or inaccurate international market perceptions about a sovereign issuer’s economy may develop due to a lack of comprehensive and timely information on the pursuit of appropriate policies, fears of instability stemming from political developments and unfavorable interpretations of economic or political pronouncements.’[19] There is already evidence that when African economies suffer from internal political instability or terrorist attacks these are prominently covered and sensationalized in local and global media and create negative global perceptions of Africa. This then undermines Africa’s, ‘ability to secure access to international capital markets on a sustained basis, thus significantly increasing refinancing risk.’ Also, if Africa’s economies begin to weaken significantly as more developed markets recover, international markets may not be inclined to refinance thereby forcing Africa to service the debt by cutting government spending in areas such as health, education and agriculture. With a debt the scale of the Eurobond, how much spending will have to be cut? Shudder.

i. Currency Depreciation Risk

Obvious point; debt secured in foreign denominations may have to be paid when the sovereign’s currency is weaker. This is of particular concern with bullet maturities.

j. Currency Appreciation Risk

Interestingly, the opposite scenario is also a risk because like, ‘other forms of capital flows, international bond financing has potential repercussions for exchange rate policy’ because a shift to larger foreign financing, ‘potentially implies appreciation pressure for the domestic currency (depending on the import content of the associated spending)’.[20] This may harm export competitiveness which is of particular concern for African countries which need healthy exports in order to service all the debt issued in foreign currencies.

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k. Revenue Risk

This is a risk that has apparently been acknowledged by the Kenyan government. According to the Business Daily, in one of the Eurobond pitch documents, ‘the Treasury stated, as a key risk, that the informal economy is not recorded and is only partially taxed, resulting in a lack of revenue for the government, ineffective regulation, unreliability of statistical information and inability to monitor or otherwise regulate a large portion of the economy’.[21] So government has handicapped revenue generation capacity linked to widespread economic informalisation (a long term problem), yet the international sovereign bond will mature well before the revenue issue is resolved. This is a simple illustration of how even acknowledged weaknesses in the economic infrastructure of African governments still carry very real risks.

l. Reduced Access To Concessional Funding

The willingness of African government to accept debt at higher rates than in other financing packages may reduce access to low interest vehicles such as concessional deals particularly if the Eurobonds, ‘generate new macrofinancial and debt vulnerabilities’.[22]

m. Corruption And Questionable Public Financial Management

Please bear in mind that all the risks raised hereto exist even if the funds raised are used responsibly. Yes there may be delays in projects and low levels of competence but the assumption is that no one is trying to steal the money and engage in corruption. Yet the monstrosity called corruption is a trademark of African governments and, ‘competent public debt management is not yet in place in many SSA countries’.[23] Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). 90% of African countries scored below 50 and of the bottom 20, 9 were African.[24] This is self-sabotage by African governments at its best and both African citizens and the international community are yet to find truly effective strategies to reign in corruption. Corruption is one of the most onerous risks on the list because if the money is siphoned to personal accounts, there is zero hope that the projected activities will occur and generate the requisite economic growth.

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So there are real and present dangers to Africa’s love affair with Eurobonds. The natural question then becomes how African governments can manage all these risks and opinions will vary on how to mitigate each of these risks. Additionally, some may argue that many of the risks are unavoidable and part and parcel of getting into Eurobond deals. However, I posit that the risk that is most needless is corruption. Interestingly, although corruption is the risk that could most seriously sabotage the positive power of Eurobonds, it is also the risk most readily addressed via Eurobonding itself! How? Well…

4. Can International Sovereign Bonds Change The Way African Governments Manage Public Funds And Stem/End Corruption?

The answer is yes and no.

The YES side exists with the following contributors:

a. Eurobond Issues Are Predicated On Disclosure and Transparency

‘The prospectus or offering memorandum of a bond issue requires disclosure of a substantial amount of data, allowing investors a close look at the current economic situation of the issuing country and a better assessment of the country’s prospects for successfully meeting its debt service payments’.[25] Although there may be an asymmetry in information, it is in the interest of African countries to fully cooperate in the disclosure and put all the cards on the table and acknowledge weaknesses and risks, including corruption. This disclosure ought to come with commitments on risk mitigation with clear strategies on how to address them. It is therefore possible that Eurobond issues have forced African governments to look at how they manage funds and put clear structures in place that assures investors that corruption will not compromise management of the bond and related activities.

b. Scrutiny

‘Accessing international markets through a sovereign bond can strengthen macroeconomic discipline and move forward transparency and structural reforms as a result of increased scrutiny by international market participants. For instance, Nigeria’s fiscal and monetary discipline to date has continued to strengthen following its increased presence in international markets in recent years.’[26] Indeed, ‘any country that borrows in the Eurobond market, by definition, exposes itself to rigorous analysis and questioning’. The world is watching African sovereign issuers; they better be corruption free.[27]

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c. International Reputation

The manner in which African governments manage debut issues informs access to future issues. If bonds are beleaguered with corruption, African governments will soon find themselves as investment exiles unable to access international financial markets. Easy global financial conditions will end and African governments will soon find themselves competing for money on global markets with everyone else. Therefore, developing a reputation of transparency, competence and efficiency is in the interest of African governments if future issues are to be successful.

d. Debt Will Not Be Forgiven

African governments know that if ‘money disappears’ they will still have to pay the debt. Governments forgive debt, private investors do not. As one commentator stated with reference to African Eurobonds, ‘Investors are cold blooded, rational people. They want to be assured they will be paid back.’[28] This fact becomes particularly potent if the issuing government also has to service the debt; which is possible in the case of 5 year maturities. If the government responsible for the issue fails to pay up, due to issues such as corruption, they will meet hostile sentiment from both investors and citizens. A government in power over the period of both issue and servicing will face hard questions and perhaps legal action if they can’t pay because funds were mismanaged. A new government can always say the previous government stole the money. This does not hold if the same government is in power throughout as any corruption would have happened under their docket. Therefore, it is in the interest of African governments to tame corruption as a failure to do so will lead to a world of trouble with which no government would like to contend.

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However, the NO side exists with the following to consider:

a. Change In Government= Change In Accountability

If the government that issued the bond is not the one responsible for paying up, this creates serious problems. A change in government can easily lead to a blame game with the incoming cadre accusing the former government of mismanagement of funds, and the predecessor denying the same. Bloody nightmare.

b. No guaranteed trickle effect

All the factors mentioned in the ‘YES’ section provide impetus to end corruption…in managing the Eurobond alone. There is no guarantee that discipline in this area will trickle into the management of public funds in general.

 So there you have it, the pros and cons of Eurobonding.

I think there are more reasons to smile than frown because, as stated in the previous post, there are solid reasons for African governments to pursue Eurobonds and now we see that these bonds open doors for: 1) African issuers to better manage public funds, and 2) For African citizens and the international community to use the Eurobonds as vehicles to better monitor public financial management and push for better management of public funds.

Therefore, I offer that yes, Eurobonding may be dangerous…but even roses have thorns. All that African citizens and interested parties can do is to make the effort to increase the likelihood that this shopping spree will be used to the continent’s advantage.

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Sources

[1]A term I coined.

[2] Amadou N.R. Sy (2013), ‘ First Borrow’. IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2013/06/sy.htm

[3] Amadou N.R. Sy (2013), ‘ First Borrow’. IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2013/06/sy.htm

[4] Tosin Sulaiman (2014), ‘Analysis: Decade after debt relief, Africa’s rush to borrow stirs concern’, Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/18/us-africa-debt-sustainability-analysis-idUSBREA2H08B20140318

[5] Joseph Stiglitz (2013), ‘Sub-Saharan Africa’s Eurobond borrowing spree gathers pace’, The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2013/jun/26/subsaharan-africa-eurobond-borrowing-debt

[6] Rintoul, Fiona (2013), ‘Sub-Saharan market: High yields fire appetite for African eurobonds’, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d7c5c5d8-3810-11e3-8668-00144feab7de.html#axzz354cr4weH

[7] Amadou N.R. Sy (2013), ‘ First Borrow’. IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2013/06/sy.htm

[8] Mohamed Wehliye (2014), ‘The National Debt. Are we about to go bust?’, http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/eblog/2014/06/09/the-national-debt-are-we-about-to-go-bust/?wpmp_switcher=mobile&wpmp_tp=1

[9] Geoffrey Irungu (2014), ‘IMF, World Bank raise the red flag over Kenya’s debt’, Business Daily, http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/IMF-and-World-Bank-raise-the-red-flag-over-Kenya-debt/-/539546/2252232/-/68mp65/-/index.html

[10] Tosin Sulaiman (2014), ‘Analysis: Decade after debt relief, Africa’s rush to borrow stirs concern’, Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/18/us-africa-debt-sustainability-analysis-idUSBREA2H08B20140318

[11] Tosin Sulaiman (2014), ‘Analysis: Decade after debt relief, Africa’s rush to borrow stirs concern’, Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/18/us-africa-debt-sustainability-analysis-idUSBREA2H08B20140318, parenthesis mine.

[12] Amadou N.R. Sy (2013), ‘ First Borrow’. IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2013/06/sy.htm

[13] Jocelyne Sambira (2014), ‘Hunting for Eurobonds’, http://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/april-2014/hunting-eurobonds#sthash.tzl64sec.dpuf

[14] Mauro Mecagni, Jorge Ivan Canales Kriljenko et al (2014), Issuing International Sovereign Bonds: Opportunities and Challenges for Sub-Saharan Africa, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/dp/2014/afr1402.pdf

[15] Willem te Velde, Dirk (2014), ‘ Sovereign bonds in sub-Saharan Africa: Good for growth or ahead of time?’, ODI, http://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/8883.pdf

[16]All Africa (2014), ‘Kenya: Understanding Kenya’s 2014-2015 National Budget – PWC’, http://allafrica.com/stories/201406131050.html

[17] Investopedia (2014), http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/rollover-risk.asp

[18]Author interview with expert, June 2014

[19] Udaibir S. Das, Michael G. Papaioannou and Magdalena Polan (2008), ‘Strategic Considerations for First-Time

Sovereign Bond Issuers’, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2008/wp08261.pdf

[20] Mauro Mecagni, Jorge Ivan Canales Kriljenko et al (2014), Issuing International Sovereign Bonds: Opportunities and Challenges for Sub-Saharan Africa, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/dp/2014/afr1402.pdf

[21] Bodo, George (2014), ‘Eurobond faces structural risks despite flying start’, Business Daily, http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Opinion-and-Analysis/Eurobond-faces-structural-risks-despite-flying-start-/-/539548/2354496/-/ypyeyb/-/index.html

[22] Mauro Mecagni, Jorge Ivan Canales Kriljenko et al (2014), Issuing International Sovereign Bonds: Opportunities and Challenges for Sub-Saharan Africa, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/dp/2014/afr1402.pdf

[23] Deutsche Bank (2013), ‘ Capital markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, http://www.dbresearch.com/PROD/DBR_INTERNET_EN-PROD/PROD0000000000321468/Capital+markets+in+Sub-Saharan+Africa.pdf

[24] Transparency International (2013), ‘Corruption Perceptions Index 2013’ http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/results/#myAnchor1

[25] Udaibir S. Das, Michael G. Papaioannou and Magdalena Polan (2008), ‘Strategic Considerations for First-Time

Sovereign Bond Issuers’, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2008/wp08261.pdf

[26] Mauro Mecagni, Jorge Ivan Canales Kriljenko et al (2014), Issuing International Sovereign Bonds: Opportunities and Challenges for Sub-Saharan Africa, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/dp/2014/afr1402.pdf

[27]Author interview with expert, June 2014

[28]Author interview with expert, June 2014

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What’s With All The International Sovereign Bonds Being Issued By African Governments? (Part 1)

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The Kenyan government successfully launched its debut Eurobond this month and ‘secured bids worth $8 billion (Sh702.4 billion); Treasury will accept $2 billion (Sh175.6 billion)’ [1]. The Kenyan Eurobond is a big deal for Africa because it is the largest ever debut for an African country. However, international sovereign bonds have been gaining popularity amongst African countries and, ‘Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) issued a record $4.6 billion in 2013 in sovereign bonds (5% of developing country sovereign-bond issues), up from zero in 2010 (and around $1 billion in 2001).’[2]  Thirteen other SSA countries have issued Eurobonds so far: South Africa, Seychelles, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Gabon, Senegal, Nigeria, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda and Mozambique. [3]

But there are four core questions to ask here:

1. Why are international sovereign bonds becoming so attractive to African governments?
2. Why are international bonds floated by African governments so well received in global markets?
3. What are the risks and challenges?
4. Can international sovereign bonds change the way African governments manage public funds?

The first two questions will be answered in this post and the rest in part 2.

Sovereign bonds carry significantly higher borrowing costs than concessional debt does so the question is:

1. Why Are International Sovereign Bonds Becoming So Attractive To African Governments?

Image(Source: Moody’s)

Consider the following:

a. Governments Need The Money
Africa’s development needs are huge and need money to address them. Africa has significant infrastructure requirements such as, ‘electricity generation and distribution, roads, airports, ports, and railroads’.[4] Funds raised through Eurobonds are an effective means of financing such infrastructure projects which often, ‘require resources that exceed aid flows and domestic savings’.[5]

b. Gives Government More Autonomy
Foreign aid and funding from multilateral institutions as well as development financing institutions come with conditions as do funds from unilateral agreements with other governments. International sovereign bonds give African governments more choice and negotiation power to define how the funds will be used.

c. Allows Government To Restructure Debt
African governments are using international sovereign bonds to restructure their debt by, ‘exchanging an outstanding sovereign debt instrument for new debt instruments’ thereby ‘allowing debt rescheduling or reduction’. [6] The Kenyan government seems to be among those employing this strategy since part of the Eurobond will be used to ‘retire a $600 million (Sh52.2 billion) syndicated loan’. [7] Kenya is not alone; four other African countries (Seychelles, Gabon, Republic of Congo and Côte d’Ivoire) issued international bonds in the context of debt restructuring. [8]

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d. Reduces Pressure for Credit In Domestic Markets
Successful international bond issues reduce pressure for credit in domestic markets. In Kenya, a failure with the issue may not have augured well for domestic borrowers as government appetite may have crowded out borrowing from individual and corporate consumers. Thus in issuing Eurobonds, African governments leave the credit space more open which allows more businesses and individuals to access this credit and in doing so, ‘support domestic investment and growth, and help develop the local capital market’. [9]

e. Diversifies/ Broadens Sources of Investment Finance
International bond issues broaden the country’s investor base as, ‘governments diversify sources of capital and reduce reliance on bank financing from abroad and official financing.’ [10] They also allow governments to reduce budgetary deficits in an environment in which donors are not willing to increase their overseas development assistance. [11]

f. Reduced Sovereign Debt
The Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) significantly reduced the debt of African countries. In fact, multilateral creditors, bilateral aid organizations, export credit agencies, and private creditors have delivered about $100 billion of debt relief to African economies since 2000. [12] This has allowed African governments to, ‘borrow in international markets without straining their ability to repay’. [13]

g. The Conditions Are Right
Africa is operating in a context of easy global financial conditions due to, ‘record low interest rates in developed markets and ample liquidity’. [14] As a result, sub-Saharan African countries have been able to borrow at ‘historically low yields’ sometimes even lower than those of Eurozone crisis countries. [15]

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h. Benchmarking
International sovereign bonds give African governments the opportunity to develop a benchmark for pricing other government and corporate bond markets in international markets.[16] Ergo, African governments can use insights gained in international bond issues to develop subnational (e.g. parastatal) and corporate bonds thereby enhancing African access to international capital markets. [17]

i. Signals Support for Planned Activities
In many ways, ‘the successful issue of an international bond gives a signal of approval of current and planned economic policies’. [18] This provides grounds on which African governments can rationalize economic and development plans to both local and international parties.

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So it is clear that there African governments have solid reasons to issue international sovereign bonds, but…

2. Why Are International Bonds Floated By African Governments Being So Well Received In Global Markets?

a. High Yields
Investors looking for high bond yields are increasingly buying African sovereign debt because the, ‘debt sales offer exposure to growing economies, with a better return than they would receive in more-developed markets’. [19]

b. Strong Economic Growth in Africa
The world is looking at Africa and becoming increasingly interested in investing in the continent partly because of Africa’s robust GDP growth rates and, ‘considerable resilience to financial shock’. [20] Africa grew at an estimated growth of 4.0% in 2013 and is expected to grow at 4.7% in 2014. [21] This is compared to 2.5% for the USA, 1.5% for Western Europe, 3% for Brazil and 2.9% for Russia. [22] These figures strengthen investors’ appetites for African offerings.

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c. Improved Availability Of Credit Information
The number of African countries rated by either Moody’s, Fitch or Standard & Poor’s increased to 21 from only 10 in 2003. [23], [24] Credit ratings are important for African governments as they make it easier to sell the country and related offerings due to several effects : [25], [26]

– Signal effect – increased credibility
– Information effect – especially for smaller countries that might otherwise be overlooked
– Advertising effect- the rating works as a kind of advert to investors, showing that the country is open to foreign capital
– Identifying country risk
– Economic policy effect – countries don’t want to lose ratings, and will adjust economic policy accordingly.

All these work together to foster confidence in investors, raising their inclination to favourably respond to African bond issues.

d. Africa’s limited exposure to international capital markets
Most of sub- Saharan Africa is not well exposed to international capital markets, providing ample opportunity for investors to make deals on the continent through instruments like international sovereign bonds that carry relatively low risk. Indeed, Moody’s predicts, ‘significant potential in Africa for increasing the use of international capital markets’. [27] There are possibilities for healthy profits to be made by increasing African exposure to capital markets and foreign investors are aware of this (risks notwithstanding).

So it looks like it’s smiles all around for African international sovereign bond issues…but behind the shine, does real danger lurk? Find out in the next post.

 Sources

[1] Gachiri, John (2014), ‘Eurobond attracts Sh702bn bids, shows investor confidence in Kenya’, http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Eurobond-attracts-Sh702bn-bids-investor-confidence-in-Kenya/-/539546/2352268/-/14p1riw/-/index.html

[2]Willem te Velde, Dirk (2014), ‘ Sovereign bonds in sub-Saharan Africa: Good for growth or ahead of time?’, ODI http://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/8883.pdf

[3]Deutsche Bank (2013), ‘Capital markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, http://www.dbresearch.com/PROD/DBR_INTERNET_EN-PROD/PROD0000000000321468/Capital+markets+in+Sub-Saharan+Africa.pdf

[4]Amadou N.R. Sy (2013), ‘First Borrow’, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2013/06/sy.htm

[5] Amadou N.R. Sy (2013), ‘First Borrow’, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2013/06/sy.htm

[6]Udaibir S. Das, Michael G. Papaioannou and Christoph Trebesch (2012), ‘Restructuring Sovereign Debt: Lessons from Recent History’, http://www.imf.org/external/np/seminars/eng/2012/fincrises/pdf/ch19.pdf

[7]Gachiri, John (2014), ‘Eurobond attracts Sh702bn bids, shows investor confidence in Kenya’, Business Daily, http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Eurobond-attracts-Sh702bn-bids-investor-confidence-in-Kenya/-/539546/2352268/-/14p1riw/-/index.html

[8] IMF (2013), ‘Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa Building Momentum in a Multi-Speed World’, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/reo/2013/afr/eng/sreo0513.pdf

[9] Udaibir S. Das, Michael G. Papaioannou and Magdalena Polan (2008), ‘Strategic Considerations for First-Time

Sovereign Bond Issuers’, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2008/wp08261.pdf

[10]Udaibir S. Das, Michael G. Papaioannou and Magdalena Polan (2008), ‘Strategic Considerations for First-Time

Sovereign Bond Issuers’, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2008/wp08261.pdf

[11] Sambira, Jocelyne( 2014), ‘ Hunting for Eurobonds’, http://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/april-2014/hunting-eurobonds#sthash.FyAGjNqr.dpuf

[12] Mark Roland Thomas (2012), ‘African Debt since Debt Relief: How Clean is the Slate?’, World Bank, http://blogs.worldbank.org/africacan/african-debt-since-debt-relief-how-clean-is-the-slate

[13] Amadou N.R. Sy (2013), ‘First Borrow’, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2013/06/sy.htm

[14]Deutsche Bank (2013), ‘Capital markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, http://www.dbresearch.com/PROD/DBR_INTERNET_EN-PROD/PROD0000000000321468/Capital+markets+in+Sub-Saharan+Africa.pdf

[15]Amadou N.R. Sy (2013), ‘First Borrow’, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2013/06/sy.htm

[16] IMF (2013), ‘Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa Building Momentum in a Multi-Speed World’, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/reo/2013/afr/eng/sreo0513.pdf

[17] IMF (2013), ‘Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa Building Momentum in a Multi-Speed World’, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/reo/2013/afr/eng/sreo0513.pdf

[18] Udaibir S. Das, Michael G. Papaioannou and Magdalena Polan (2008), ‘Strategic Considerations for First-Time

Sovereign Bond Issuers’, IMF, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2008/wp08261.pdf

[19]Sarka Halas (2013), ‘Hunt for Higher Bond Yields Leads to Africa’, Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323646604578402033262468070

[20] Javier Blas (2013), ‘Africa bond issues soar to record sums’, Financial Times, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7f11fab8-2f61-11e3-ae87-00144feab7de.html#axzz35ATQX9Pu

[21] UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (2013), ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects 2014: Global economic outlook’, http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/publications/wesp2014-firstchapter.html

[22] UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (2013), ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects 2014: Global economic outlook’, http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/publications/wesp2014-firstchapter.html

[23] Minto, Rob (2013), ‘What use is a credit rating? For Africa, it means FDI’, http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2013/02/28/what-use-is-a-credit-rating-for-africa-it-means-fdi/

[24]Deutsche Bank (2013), ‘Capital markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, http://www.dbresearch.com/PROD/DBR_INTERNET_EN-PROD/PROD0000000000321468/Capital+markets+in+Sub-Saharan+Africa.pdf

[25] Minto, Rob (2013), ‘What use is a credit rating? For Africa, it means FDI’, Financial Times, http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2013/02/28/what-use-is-a-credit-rating-for-africa-it-means-fdi/

[26]Reuters (2013), Ratings more than a piece of paper for Africa’, http://blogs.reuters.com/globalinvesting/2013/02/28/ratings-more-than-a-piece-of-paper-for-africa/

[27] Javier Blas (2013), ‘Africa bond issues soar to record sums’, Financial Times, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7f11fab8-2f61-11e3-ae87-00144feab7de.html#axzz35ATQX9Pu