The decision by the FOMC to raise the Federal Reserve’s interest rate by 25 basis points had little effect on many African currencies which had already priced in the hike.
However, many African countries are expected to fully bear the brunt as the dollar strengthens, investors leave for the safer US market and dollar-denominated interest payments become a bigger burden.
A report by the Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales (ICAEW) as reported by Quartz indicates that Ghana is the African country likely to suffer most from the Fed rate hike. Ghana led the pack followed by Seychelles, Guinea, Tanzania, DR Congo, Kenya, Tunisia, Benin, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Togo and others.
Ghana has a lot of dollar-denominated bonds that it will struggle to service as the dollar gets stronger relative to the Ghana cedi. The country is under a three-year extended credit facility programme with the IMF which it sought after world prices of commodities plunged and spending shot above targets leaving the country with double-digit deficit figures in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Interest payments have shot up 330% in 4 years as the country has sought debt to plug the hole in its budget. The GDP is projected to grow at 4.1% this year and the fiscal deficit is projected to come to 7.3% of GDP.
With a crippling power crisis and an election in 2016, Ghana can ill afford the rate hikes which the Fed is planning to see through next year.