African countries owe the outside world the most, according to the World Bank

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The World Bank reports that African countries’ external debt (public and private) stands at a whopping $1,074 million. However, this volume is concentrated in a few countries, including major economies. This vast debt also leads to repayments that weigh heavily on the budgets of African countries.

External debt, defined by the World Bank (BM) as the sum of public and private debt, guaranteed and unsecured, and short-term debt (maximum term of one year), continues to grow at the level of the African continent taken as a whole. Because of the abysmal budget deficits, especially in the last three years, the use of debt is one of the solutions adopted by many African countries.

At the end of 2021, the total foreign debt stock of the continent’s countries stood at $1.074 billion, of which $790 billion was contracted by sub-Saharan African countries and $284 billion by African countries in the MENA region. (Middle East and North Africa), according to the World Bank’s 2022 External Debt Report. This amount is relatively high in relation to the continent’s PIB, which is around 3.000 billion dollars, but it remains very sustainable, even if we note huge differences between countries.

On another sign that Africa is far from an external debt glut, Africa’s debt accounts for only 11.55% of the world’s external debt (excluding OCDE countries), with a total of $9.296 billion at the end of 2021, a meagre 39.75%. China is the second-largest economy in the world.

Nour el Houda Bouzammour

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