Chad and Swiss agree to restructure $1bn oil loan
Chadian President Idriss Deby
Chad say it has struck a deal with Swiss mining giant Glencore to restructure debt of more than $1bn from a cash-for-crude-oil loan.
The west African nation’s state oil company loaned nearly $1.45bn from Glencore in 2014, with the backing of four banks.
The loan was to be repaid with crude oil assets, but Chad’s economy has since been badly hit by a downturn in the price of oil exports.
The two sides finally signed a renegotiated agreement on Wednesday, Chad’s finance ministry said in a statement.
The deal includes a “two-year grace period” for the country to repay its debt, a 12-year extension of debt maturity and a reduction of the interest rate from 7.5% to 2%.
It will also involve the total supply from the country’s refinery near the capital N’Djamena.
The same source said the agreement was a “necessity” for Chad to continue receiving funds from a stabilisation programme by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which opened up a $312m credit line last June.
“This restructuring agreement makes it possible to guarantee the sustainability of our external debt and to ensure the financing of our three-year program with the IMF,” said the finance ministry statement.
Chad has cut public spending to try and meet the terms of the IMF programme, prompting strikes and protests when it halved civil servants’ bonus pay in January.
The austerity programme has increased social tension in a country where nearly 40% of the population lives below the poverty line, as well as anger towards President Idriss Deby, in power since 1990.