The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Markets: The rise of invisible debt

It is not just corporations and states that have built up record debt levels: the indebtedness of the booming sub-sovereign market – especially among state-owned enterprises – can be difficult to see until something goes wrong. Should investors be spooked?


When the IMF granted the Republic of Ghana a three-year bailout arrangement under its extended credit facility in 2015, the multilateral development bank did not fully grasp how much debt the overburdened country really had. 

The IMF was aware that the country’s poorly managed state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were a large part of the problem and had to be reformed. In 2015, according to the IMF, SOEs were responsible for losses of 1.8% of GDP and gross liabilities of 13.7% of GDP, mostly due to the country’s struggling energy sector.

But soon after presidential elections in December 2016, when the country’s opposition party took power, anomalies were uncovered in the government’s balance sheet.

First, the New Patriotic Party found C7 billion ($1.57 billion) in arrears related to Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System – a programme in part meant, ironically, to reform government contracts and expenditure.

The debt, commentators say, was largely taken out by the SOEs Ghana was supposed to be cleaning up as part of its terms with the IMF, which included a ban on accumulating arrears.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree