Nigeria makes credit ratings debut


Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia, three of Africa’s most dynamic economies, received their first sovereign ratings from the Moody’s agency Wednesday, beating Greece in the creditworthiness stakes.

Predicting that African governments will increasingly turn to markets to fund public programs, Moody’s gave Nigeria the highest rating of the trio, at Ba3, just under investment grade. The ratings judge how likely a country is to default on its debt and go a long way toward determining a government’s cost of borrowing.

Kenya and Zambia were both assessed a B1, or highly speculative grade. But that was still a higher rate than those given to some debt-stricken European nations such as Cyprus (B3) and Greece (C). Nigeria’s rating was equal to that of Portugal.