Many African countries are in an aggressive infrastructure development boom. It’s not all great and promising since most of these countries still don’t collect enough revenues locally and thus end to borrowing heavily to finance these infrastructure projects.
In 2021 Sub-Saharan Africa’s debt burden increased to a record $702 billion in 2020 — the highest in a decade. The debt of low- and middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa increased to a record $702 billion in 2020, according to a new World Bank report released October 11, 2021. This is the region’s highest debt burden in a decade.
In 2010, sub-Saharan Africa’s debt stood at around $305 billion. The region has more debt than it can pay, the report showed. This includes long-term external debt ($589 billion) and short-term external debt.
Table: Kiran Pandey Source: World Bank, Oct 11, 2021 Get the data Embed Created with Datawrapper
Without much surprise, Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast registered the highest public debts in the region, with $79.5 billion, $21.9 billion, and $19.5 billion, respectively. While Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast top list of countries with the highest public debt stocks in West Africa, Kenya tops the list for East Africa.
With Massive projects like the standard gauge railway, by-pass roads construction, Mombasa port expansion, Lamu port construction, and currently the Nairobi Expressway, the debt burden to GDP ratio has risen in the past decade placing the country on this list.
No doubt infrastructure is a key enabler to social-economic development it is important to always note that the returns on investments from infrastructure development are always seen after many years.
Here is the list of top 5 most indebted countries in Africa
Ghana – Elevated Pressure. Ghana’s debt risks jumped on deteriorating public finances
Kenya – Growing Concern. Kenya’s debt-service costs make up more than a third of forex reserves
Angola – Mounting Risks. The bulk of Angola’s debt is held by commercial creditors