Publications /
Policy Brief

Debt Sustainability and Development Financing in Sub- Saharan Africa: Recent Dynamics
Lotfi El Jai
September 18, 2019

Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) currently face a yearly infrastructure financing gap ranging between $68-$108 billion along with other socio-economic challenges (AfDB, 2019). Debt financing remains a major source of growth as countries in the region work to achieve their developmental needs and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The levels of official development aid (ODA) and foreign direct investments (FDIs) remain volatile to fully meet the region financial needs. However, the sustainability of SSA external debt raises serious concerns if one looks at the rapid debt accumulation in recent years. This brief will highlight the recent changes in the nature and quality of debt in SSA along with details of the risks related to the shift in the creditors base. Finally, this brief aims to demonstrate the impact of these risks on debt sustainability and the future of development financing in SSA.

In the early part of the 21st century, debt sustainability challenged Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as it sought to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Following two episodes of debt relief (HIPC and MDRI2), the average debt-to-GDP ratio has decreased from over 100% in 2000 to less than 40% in 2010 (figure 1), representing a debt stock reduction of almost $100 billion (IMF, 2017). This was a breath of fresh air that would have allowed SSA countries to sustain their current and future debt levels and promote development expenditures in the region.

However, with the stagnation in the level of official development aid following the Global Financial Crisis of 2007, and the difficulties of the region’s countries in mobilizing domestic resources to finance their infrastructure and socio-economic development needs


  • Authors
    Imane Lahrich
    September 27, 2023
    In recent years, Iran has witnessed high levels of societal unrest, which has roots extending deep into the country’s rich history. Anti-regime protests notably spurred by tragic events such as the death in custody of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, have exposed the dual nature of Iran—the resilience of its young people and the severe crackdown put in place by its regime. Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian, was apprehended by Tehran's "morality police" on 13 September 2022, al ...
  • September 27, 2023
    In this episode, we delve into the critical issues of climate change, energy transition, and food security in Africa. Our discussion highlights the multifaceted impact of climate change o ...
  • September 27, 2023
    Dans cette entrevue, nous interrogeons Monsieur Driss Ksikes, écrivain, chercheur en médias et culture, directeur d'Economia (HEM-LCI Maroc) sur les secteurs émergents des industries culturelles au Maroc, les politiques gouvernementales visant à les soutenir, les défis spécifiques à leu...
  • September 27, 2023
    La solidarité en situation de catastrophe naturelle est cruciale pour sauver des vies, fournir des secours et aider les populations sinistrées à se relever. Bien que les catastrophes naturelles soient dévastatrices dans bien de cas, elles révèlent souvent le meilleur de la nature humaine, lorsque les individus s’unissent pour s'entraider. Dans la phase initiale d'une catastrophe, une réaction rapide est impérative pour les opérations de sauvetage. Les membres de la communauté s'imp ...
  • September 26, 2023
    تظل القضايا المرتبطة بحقوق المرأة، وعلى وجه الخصوص تلك المتعلقة بالمساواة في الوصول إلى الفرص الاقتصادية (مثل الوظائف اللائقة، و المساواة في الأجور، وريادة الأعمال، وفرص الوصول إلى المناصب القيادية، والعمل الإنتاجي، والتعليم/التدريب)، مصدر قلق دائم في مجتمعنا. في هذا العصر الذي يشهد تحو...
  • Authors
    Amit Jain
    September 26, 2023
    On the day he formally took power in Nigeria, 29 May, President Bola Tinubu put an end to fuel subsidies.  It was a bold and politically difficult decision, but long overdue. Nigeria is a leading oil producer and yet its citizens struggle to put gas in their tanks. It exports crude oil but imports refined fuels. For years, the government capped the gasoline price and paid importers the difference between the higher landed cost of petrol and diesel and the lower price at the pump. Th ...
  • Authors
    Theodora Skeadas
    Hallie Stern
    September 26, 2023
    During the 2019 Indian general elections, researchers studied how organizers used a network of WhatsApp groups to manipulate Twitter trends through coordinated mass postings. The researchers joined 600 WhatsApp groups and found evidence of 75 hashtag manipulation campaigns in the form of mobilization messages with lists of pre-written tweets. During the election period, these campaigns produced hundreds of nationwide Twitter trends with the goal of influencing outcomes through persi ...
  • Authors
    September 26, 2023
    The movement of the camels, for days and days under the burning sun, started to tire the traveler; the heat was unbearable, the water bottle empty. Suddenly, the exhausted foreigner saw water, a lake, on the horizon, and a sailing boat, a felucca as the Egyptians use on the Nile. Another mile of suffering on the snorting camels and the body would be cooled by water, crystal clear water. The closer the caravan approached the shores of the lake, the more the spirit of the traveler rej ...
  • September 25, 2023
    Futures literacy and foresight play crucial roles in promoting intergenerational equity by empowering individuals and societies to envision and shape a sustainable future that transcends the present. Futures literacy involves developing the ability to explore multiple possible futures, ...