African leaders often find themselves at the forefront of managing their nations’ debts. This involves striving to strike a balance between debt repayment and socioeconomic development.
Their concern comes as public debt across the continent reached unprecedented levels, sparking concerns about long-term economic stability and sustainability.
To corroborate this, the World Bank reported that over half of the world’s low-income countries, predominantly located in Africa, either grapple with debt distress or face imminent risks of falling into it.
This article casts a spotlight on the debt struggles faced by five African nations and the leaders steering their financial ships through these turbulent waters.
President Isaias Afwerki has been the president of Eritrea for over 32 years. With a debt-to-GDP ratio of 164%, Eritrea comes first on the list of African countries with huge debt.
According to reports, government debt to GDP in Eritrea averaged 190.47 per cent of GDP from 2003 until 2022, reaching an all-time high of 263.90 per cent of GDP in 2003 and a record low of 136.60 per cent of GDP in 2014.
In 2021, Qatar National Bank QPSC (QNB) asked a Washington D.C. court to order Eritrea to pay about $300 million of debt after the Horn of Africa nation refused to respond to two lawsuits filed by the lender.
Reports say Eritrea borrowed $200 million from the Middle East’s largest lender in 2009 and 2010 and only returned $45 million in May 2012.
Isaias who was once hailed as Eritrea’s independence hero, reportedly pushed the country into isolation, leading to two-thirds of the country living below the poverty line.
José Maria Neves
Cabo Verde, an island nation, faces a significant debt-to-GDP ratio of 129.80%. José Maria Neves, who served as Prime Minister from 2001 to 2016, has been at the forefront of managing this debt challenge.
Reports say Cape Verde’s government debt to GDP averaged 95.95 per cent of GDP from 2000 until 2022, reaching an all-time high of 157.00 per cent of GDP in 2021 and a record low of 57.17 per cent of GDP in 2008.
According to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts, It is expected that the nation’s government debt to GDP will reach 120.00 per cent of GDP by the end of 2023.
Mozambique grapples with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 101%, making it a prominent entrant on this list. President Filipe Nyusi who has been in office since 2015, has signed multiple agreements with the main opposition party, RENAMO, to bring definitive and lasting peace to Mozambique.
Statistics show that Mozambique’s government debt to GDP averaged 83.75 per cent of GDP from 1999 until 2022, reaching an all-time high of 138.40 per cent of GDP in 2001.
It is also expected to reach 93.00 per cent of GDP by the end of 2023.
Congo, the second-largest country in Africa and the 11th-largest in the world contends with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 99.57%. The Republic of Congo’s government debt to GDP witnessed an all-time 270.18 per cent of GDP in 1994 and a record low of 30.20 per cent of GDP in 2012.
The African nation’s debt is expected to reach 96.00 per cent by the end of 2023, 89 per cent in 2024 and 86 per cent in 2025.
Julius Maada Bio
Sierra Leone, a country on the southwest coast of West Africa confronts a gross debt that stands at 98.80% of its GDP. President Julius Maada Bio faces the challenge of maintaining the country’s economic stability while addressing this substantial debt load.
The nation’s government debt to GDP is estimated to reach 76.00 per cent of GDP by the end of 2023, 72 per cent in 2024 and 68.00 per cent in 2025.
Abdul Samad Rabiu’s journey to becoming one of Africa’s wealthiest magnates is…