Africa’s current debts stand at $500bn–AfDB

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By Mustapha Sumaila

Abidjan – African Development Bank (AfDB) says total debt stock of Africa, both external and domestic currently stands at 500 billion dollars.
AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina disclosed this during a public presentation of African Economic Outlook 2020 in Abidjan Thursday.

He said Median Debt to Gross Domestic Product () had risen from 38 per cent in 2008 to 54 per cent in 2018.
AfDB boss quickly added that in spite this development, there no for panic button but though there to rising debt levels.
He said even with this, Africa as a continent did have a systemic debt crisis.

“However, we watch the quality of debt, the mix of debt in terms of concessional and non-concessional, the potential negative effects of rising domestic debt in crowding out private sector access to finance, the increasing level of non-Paris Club bilateral debt, and rising volumes of Euro bonds.

“While there is no cause for alarm, greater prudence is needed. We all now collectively focus sustainable debt management and greater reliance domestic resource mobilisation to finance rising fiscal deficits.

“The bulk of the debt is actually spent infrastructure, which remains a major challenge for many countries.

“Governments can the cost effectiveness of their expenditures on infrastructure by sharply focusing on quality infrastructure, efficiency of public expenditure on infrastructure, while promoting greater participation of private sector in the provision of infrastructure.

“Physical infrastructure, while important, is enough to drive much needed greater growth and productivity of African economies. African countries accelerate investments as well in the development of human capital” he advised.