AU chair wants pan-African financial rating agency

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Chairman of the African Union (AU), Macky Sall, has called for the creation of an African financial rating agency in the face of "sometimes very arbitrary" evaluations by international agencies that exaggerate the risk of investment in Africa, which increases the cost of credit.

Mr. Sall spoke of "the need to have a pan-African rating agency in the face of injustices, ratings that are sometimes very arbitrary", in a speech broadcast on Sunday on the private radio RFM.

He had spoken the day before at the "Dakar 2022 Economic Conference" organised by African economists on the theme "Africa as a leading partner".

"In 2020, while all economies were suffering the effects of Covid-19, 18 of the 32 African countries rated by at least one of the major rating agencies had their ratings downgraded. This represents 56% of downgrades for African countries compared to a global average of 31% during the period," he said.

"Studies have shown that at least 20% of the rating criteria for African countries are based on rather subjective factors of a cultural or linguistic nature, unrelated to the parameters that gauge the stability of an economy," he said.

One of the consequences is that "the perception of investment risk in Africa is still higher than the real risk. We end up paying more than we should in insurance premiums, which makes it more expensive to lend to our countries.

African countries "continue to pay very high-interest rates because of an unfair system of assessing investment risk in Africa," Sall also Senegal’s President said.

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