APRM Focal Point for South Africa, Minister Senzo Mchunu delivers opening remarks at the launch of the first edition of The Africa Sovereign Credit Rating Review Report
The Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Mr Senzo Mchunu, in his capacity as the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Focal Point for South Africa, delivered the welcoming and opening remarks at the launch of the First Edition of the Africa Sovereign Credit Review Report, which was held virtually and consisted of a number of panelists from the African continent. The Minister also chaired the launch.
In pursuing its mandate in Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.631 (XXVIII) at its 28th AU Ordinary Session to support countries in the area of credit rating agencies, the APRM has authored an Africa sovereign credit rating review report, in collaboration with the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
This report is the first edition of a bi-annual publication on developments and trends in the area of sovereign credit rating services by international rating agencies among African countries. The purpose of the launch was to amongst others, promote public awareness and buy-in of the publication from relevant stakeholders.
In his opening remarks, the Minister made mention of the impact of COVID-19 on the African continent, but further mentioned that Africa had remained resilient: "Despite gloomy COVID-19 predictions for the continent in terms of infections and deaths, the specter of famine and hunger hovering over our shores, floods washing over cities and villages, and desert locusts gobbling up crops, Africa has remained indomitable.
In this crucible of a year that 2020 has been, we have proven once more that we are still able to triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds."
The launch was crucial to increase knowledge of pertinent credit rating challenges in Africa and proposed mechanisms to address these challenges. The Minister went on to acknowledge the following: "At a time when our countries' fiscal space is squeezed and credit worthiness scrutinized for international loans, it is important to reflect, at a continental level, on ways to inform AU member-states' attempts to engage with International Credit Rating Agencies so as to bring about a fair assessment of their credit profile and investment climate."
In his conclusion, the Minister stated the following and urged the publication of future reports: "Today's launch will help us appreciate the challenges we face but also the opportunities we enjoy as a fast growing, young and educated continent. I am confident that this report will inspire policy-makers to offer powerful arguments in favor of reappraising African credit scores... It is my hope that many more editions of the Africa Sovereign Credit Rating Review Report will be released in future to cast light on the strengths and weaknesses of our companies on the basis of accurate data, with the aim of providing fact-based credit ratings that will strengthen our negotiating positions."