West Africa franc bloc's members to issue $7.2 bln in debt in 2014
By Loucoumane Coulibaly
ABIDJAN (Reuters) - The countries of the eight-nation West African franc zone have increased their planned debt issuance to 3,458 billion CFA francs ($7.18 billion) in 2014, up more than 52 percent from last year, according to the regional debt planning agency.
The target is significantly higher than the 2,979 billion CFA francs included in an issuance calendar released in January.
"This increase is notably linked to the economic perspectives within the union, which is expecting growth of 7.2 percent in 2014 following a rate of 5.7 percent in 2013," the agency, UMOA-Titres, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The agency said that 1,418 billion CFA francs had already been raised through treasury bills and bonds in the first half of 2014.
The eight-nation Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA) comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Niger and Togo. They share a regional central bank, the BCEAO, and the CFA franc currency, which is pegged to the euro.
"We are increasingly working outside of the zone in order to bring in more investors ... The investors are serving the needs of the states," Adrien Diouf, managing director of the agency UMOA-Titres, said during a conference in Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast, the region's largest economy, is due to issue the most debt: 1,369 billion CFA in total. The amount includes a $500 million Eurobond, which UMOA-Titres' new calendar says will be issued on July 17. The date was originally set for May and has already been pushed back several times.
Having issued a 100 billion-CFA franc Islamic sukuk last month, Senegal is now expecting to issue its own $500 million Eurobond in the second half of the year, though a date has yet to be fixed.
Below is a table with details of each country's issuance. The figures are in billions of CFA francs. Continued...