Debt sustainability in Africa has emerged as a key concern among policymakers and development finance institutions (DFIs). Currently, 19 out of 54 countries in Africa exceed the 60% debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) threshold prescribed by the African Monetary Co-operation Programme (AMCP) and 24 countries have surpassed the 55% debt-to-GDP ratio suggested by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Of concern is the changing structure of Africa’s debt: countries are tilting towards non-concessional and domestic debt with higher interest rates. Governments’ ease of access to and control over the domestic debt market is leading to excessive public debt accumulation and macroeconomic instability. Aside from the high interest rate and debt-servicing burden, excessive domestic debt also stifles credit to the private sector, the main engine of growth and job creation.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised down growth forecast for Sub-Saharan Africa by 0.2 percentage points, while retaining growth estimates for Nigeria and South Africa in 2017. Precisely, growth rate forecast for Africa was reduced from 2.8 percent in January 2017 forecast to 2.6 percent in April 2017 forecast while growth estimates were retained at 0.8 percent for both South Africa and Nigeria. In contrast, global economic growth outlook was increased by 0.4 percentage points from 3.1 percent to 3.5 percent within the same period. Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is hampered by adverse cyclical and supply side factors, weak fiscal buffers and rising public debt amongst non-commodity exporters as well as severe drought was experienced in Eastern and Southern Africa
Balance of Trade (Export and Import): With export and, to lesser extent, import declining balance of trade fell deeply in 2015 and, to lesser extent, in 2016Q1.
The paper examines fiscal policy as it influences growth through taxes and service delivery. It also reviews Nigerias experience with fiscal policy as well as challenges to its current system.