Africa in business: from debt to iron

STORY: Here are five business stories making headlines in sub-Saharan Africa this week.

Ghana is poised to request debt relief via the G20 Common Framework process, sources have said, and has sought reassurances that negotiations can be expedited.

The crisis-hit West African country needs to restructure its debt in order to access IMF funds, but has been hesitating over the Common Framework, one source said, due to long delays faced by other countries using the process.

Also in debt, Nigeria's could hit 77 trillion naira this year, or $172 billion, the chief of its Debt Management Office has said.

That's after a loan-to-bond swap and new borrowing to fund its 2023 budget.

Angola's state oil giant Sonangol is planning an initial public offering of up to 30% of its capital on the country's BODIVA bourse by 2027 and then a listing of its shares on an international stock exchange, its chief executive has said.

The southern African country wants to privatize dozens of assets - including Sonangol whose IPO was initially scheduled before 2022 - as it overhauls the state-dominated economy.

John Ngumi, chairman of the board at Safaricom, has resigned from his post the company said on Thursday (January 5).

Kenya's biggest telecoms operator, which is partly owned by South Africa's Vodacom and Britain's Vodafone, said the board will elect a new chairman in the coming weeks.

And finally, Rio Tinto's Guinea unit has agreed terms with its joint venture partners on developing infrastructure for the huge Simandou iron ore mine - the next step towards building a project in which it has held a stake since 1997.

The challenge of transporting high-grade iron ore from mine to market has long hindered the remote project's development.

Guinea's government requires any developer to build a railway to the coast hundreds of miles away.