Uganda weighs eurobond as it seeks to borrow $518mln

Elias Biryabarema, Reuters News

FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar, euro and Ukrainian hryvnia banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken in Kiev, Ukraine, October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/Illustration/File Photo

KAMPALA – Uganda is looking to borrow 500 million euros ($517.6 million)for budget spending through credit options including a possible eurobond issue, a finance ministry document shows.

The proposed borrowing is likely to stoke fresh concern over Uganda’s ability to repay its rapidly expanding debt.

As a percentage of gross domestic product, public debt is now just short of 50%, finance ministry data shows, and the World Bank warned in June that Uganda needed to reign in ballooning public debt.

The East African nation has previously considered eurobonds for government funding but ultimately decided it would be more prudent to source credit from low-interest bilateral lenders such as China.

In a letter sent to potential lenders last week and seen by Reuters on Sunday, finance minister Matia Kasaija said the government wants to borrow 500 million euros to fund the 2022/23 budget.

“Government is therefore seeking financing partners to structure medium-term and long-term financing, using all available financing options including the eurobond,” Kasaija said in the letter.

The credit proposals should have minimum 10-year terms and must be submitted by Nov. 18, the minister said.

($1 = 0.9660 euros)

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