Which African Nation Bears the Greatest Debt Burden? An In-Depth Look at the Top Five
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Which African Nation Bears the Greatest Debt Burden? An In-Depth Look at the Top Five

African nations have long grappled with economic challenges, including high levels of debt with financial obligations to international institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) taking center stage.

These countries rely on loans and financial assistance to fuel economic growth and development. However, the increasing debt levels have raised concerns about sustainability and the ability to meet repayment obligations. In this article, we will look into the world of debt in Africa, exploring the nations faced with the most substantial financial burdens. Let’s dive in.


Ghana has maintained its position as Africa’s most indebted country to the IMF, with a debt burden that increased significantly over the past year. According to data from the IMF’s Quarterly Finances for July-ending 2023, Ghana’s debt to the IMF accounts for 9.55 percent of the total loans owed by African countries to the Fund. This is a matter of concern for Ghana’s economic stability, as the nation continues to grapple with the challenges of servicing this substantial debt.


Following closely behind Ghana is Kenya, which holds the unenviable position of being the second-largest debtor to the IMF in Africa. As of July 31, 2023, Kenya owed the IMF SDR 1.008 billion. This substantial debt load is indicative of the economic challenges Kenya faces, as it tries to balance the need for development and servicing its international obligations.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) holds the third-largest outstanding loan position with the IMF among African nations. DRC’s debt to the Fund stood at SDR 1.142 billion as of July 31, 2023. This situation raises questions about the DRC’s ability to manage its economic affairs effectively while dealing with such a significant international debt burden.


Sudan maintains its position as the fourth-largest debtor to the IMF in Africa, with an outstanding debt of SDR 992 million as of July 31, 2023. The country has been dealing with a complex web of economic challenges, including political instability and the need for economic reform, which are closely tied to its debt situation.


Uganda rounds up the top five African nations with the highest debt burdens to the IMF. As of July 31, 2023, Uganda owed the Fund SDR 812 million. Like many other African countries on this list, Uganda faces the daunting task of balancing its development goals with the need to service its international debt obligations.

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