5 African Leaders Who Have Borrowed More than they Can Repay
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News around Africa - March 24, 2023

5 African Leaders Who Have Borrowed More than they Can Repay

There have been several cases of African leaders who have borrowed money than they could repay before leaving office. This has left several nations on the continent in huge debt. 

The reasons behind this vary, with some leaders engaging in corrupt practices, while others struggle with economic instability and political turmoil. The consequences of these actions can be devastating, leading to significant debt burdens for their countries and hindering economic growth and development.

While there have been significant efforts to address these issues in recent years, the issue of these countries failing to repay money remains a contentious issue that requires continued attention and action. In this article we would talk about some countries who have borrowed more than they can repay.

Muhammadu Buhari- Nigeria

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is one of the countries with an outrageous amount of debt in Africa. 

Muhammadu Buhari, the president of Nigeria has a huge history of debt since the beginning of his administration in 2015. According to statistics obtained from the Debt Management Office, his administration met a debt of N12.12tn on June 30th, 2015, but it increased it to N42.84tn by June 30, 2022. The increase represents 253 per cent growth over the period.

The country’s debt rose by N30.72tn between seven years and despite the high increase in debt over the years, the government still plans to borrow N8.4tn in 2023.

William Ruto- Kenya  

One African leader with a huge appetite for loans is William Ruto, the president of Kenya.

From resuming power in September 2022, William Ruto had borrowed KSh500 billion within his first three months. The amount borrowed is almost double the average quarterly borrowing by Kenyan former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.

Ruto’s administration is targeted at borrowing Sh3.6 trillion in his first five-year term, upending his plan to go slow on debt. The Sh3.6 trillion is equivalent to 89 percent of the Sh4.1 trillion that his predecessor borrowed five years to June 2022.

Nana Akufu-Addo – Ghana

Nana Akufo-Addo’s government has borrowed about $10bn since taking power in 2016 which is about three times the money the previous government borrowed

According to the annual debt report from the Ministry of Finance, between 2013 till date, Ghana has borrowed $14.77bn. Between 2013 to 2016 the country borrowed $3.7bn, when President Akufo-Addo took over, he borrowed over $10 billion in that short space.

In December 2022, the country agreed on a $3 billion credit deal with the International Monetary Fund, as the country battles its worst economic crisis in decades.

Cyril Ramaphosa – South Africa 2018

Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa after two years in office, depleted the Treasury Coffers to the extent that the country had little option but to get the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan. He signed up to a $4.3bn IMF Rapid Financing Instrument. 

In 2023, Ramaphosa borrowed $1 billion which is the country’s latest loan from the World Bank aside the $750 million that the same bank granted in January last year.

Hakainde Hichilema -Zambia 

Zambia has faced debt crises in recent years. The country borrowed heavily to fund several projects, but as commodity prices fell and the economy slowed, it struggled to repay its loans. In Jun 2020, Zambia External Debt reached 8.3 USD.

Hakainde Hichilema, Zambian President almost doubled the debt amount by the previous Zambian President to Chinese public and private lenders which is equivalent to $6.6 billion in the same year he resumed office in 2021.

According to official government data, Zambia’s debt totalled $31.74 billion at the end of 2021, according to official government data – of which $17.27 billion was external debt.

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