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In 1984, Ethiopia was a country that starved as a result of a politically induced famine hence Geldof’s famous song “Do they know it Christmas?” was created. Fast forward 30 years, Ethiopia plans to issue its first sovereign bond. It hopes to raise up to $1bn with a 10-year bond from foreign investors with the help of JPMorgan as it embarks on an international roadshow. Ethiopia has now join a growing number of African countries that have issued similar bonds. I found this interesting as I am pleased to see that sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are taking advantage of the current high investor interest however is the region repeating the same mistakes of the 1980s and 1990s by taking on too much debt. This relates to JPMorgan as it has to ensure it provides good service to its client (Ethiopian government) on the international

road-show despite the fact that other SSA countries are having repayment problems with similar bonds. At present, Ivory Coast and Seychelles have already defaulted on their sovereign debts, Gabon and Ghana (countries with relative strength in export earnings) are struggling to find money for the repayment of their soon to mature Eurobond.

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