December 19, 2018

Managing Africa’s Rising Debt: Time for a Multi-Pronged Approach

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 […]

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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.

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Africa Economic Update (Issue 3)

Available data shows that headline inflation rates increased and remained high in most countries in the region in February 2017. Specifically, inflation rate increased in Egypt (30.2), Burundi (20.9 percent), Kenya (10.28), and Ethiopia (8.5 percent), while it eased in Nigeria (17.78 percent), Ghana (13.2 percent), South Africa (6.3 percent), and Namibia (7.8 percent). Seychelles (-0.6 percent) remained in deflation while Sudan (32.86 percent) and Tunisia (4.6 percent) had unchanged inflation rates within the review period. Increased cost of food continued to plague the region as food component of inflation remained the major driver of inflation. Drought in East Africa continues to compound price pressure in the region. Inflation rates in Burundi6, Kenya and Ethiopia increased by 8, 3.29, and 2.4 percentage points respectively, signifying the three highest price increase in the review period