Big Three credit rating agencies. Image from public domain

The Chairperson of the African Union, President Macky Sall speaking at the UNGA77 on September 20, 2022, berated the 2022 Financing for Sustainable Development Report ratings by  UN organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on African countries. This comes at a time when the African Union is marching towards setting up a credit rating agency for the continent.

President Macky Sall of Senegal, Sept. 20, 2022. Image from

Sall expressed concern that “the perception of risk in Africa continues to be higher than the actual risk,” causing high insurance premiums and making African economies appear unattractive to investors. He cited an IMF and World Bank-assisted report that urged Moody’s and the other agencies to be more transparent with their methodologies “so as not to undermine confidence in ratings.”

It is reported that the perception of risk by international credit rating agencies as being always higher than reality, making it difficult for African countries to access better opportunities.

 “I have come to convey the message of a continent determined to work with all of its partners in a relationship for a dialogue of confidence and trust and mutual respect; I have come to say that Africa has suffered enough of the burden of history that it does not want to be the place for the new Cold War but rather a place of stability and opportunity open to all of its partners on a mutually beneficial basis,” he said.

Earlier in May, President Macky Sall had expressed that the “very arbitrary” nature of the system of assessment by international organizations made it more expensive for African countries to borrow on global debt markets. The African Union with the backing of member countries wants fairer treatment from the big three agencies when they evaluate African governments’ international fundraising efforts (typically through Eurobonds).

Dominant in the US thanks to their legally protected status, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s, and Fitch have extended their reach to assess African governments and businesses, often resulting in dissatisfaction. GCR, the continent’s major rating agency, was bought by Moody’s earlier this year, cementing the big three’s market share.

Among the list of demands conveyed by the AU head at UNGA77 was for the General Assembly to give Africa a seat in the Group of 20 as the continent can do more for the world if it is properly engaged.

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