Africa confronts debt crisis hampering future development

(MENAFN) In a recent address, Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, highlighted the critical challenge posed by the continent's external debt to its growth prospects. Adesina emphasized that Africa's staggering external debt, totaling USD824 billion, severely impedes its potential for development and casts a shadow over the future trajectories of its nations. Alarmingly, countries are allocating a significant portion of their gross domestic product—65 percent—to service these debt obligations, signaling a heavy burden on their economies.

Adesina underscored the pressing need to confront the structural issues within Africa's debt landscape, particularly in light of the financial strains exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, infrastructure demands, and escalating inflation. Notably, he pointed out that this year alone, African countries will shell out a staggering USD74 billion for debt service payments—an exponential increase from USD17 billion in 2010.

Critically, Adesina raised concerns regarding the "Africa premium," a phenomenon wherein African nations face higher borrowing costs in global capital markets. Despite empirical evidence indicating lower default rates in Africa compared to other regions, this perception of heightened risk persists, exacerbating borrowing costs for African countries. Adesina urged for a reevaluation of this narrative, emphasizing that it contributes to the financial burdens faced by African nations.

In conclusion, Adesina's remarks shed light on the urgent need for concerted efforts to address Africa's debt crisis. By tackling structural issues, dispelling misconceptions, and advocating for fairer lending terms, African countries can strive towards sustainable economic growth and development, unlocking their full potential on the global stage. 



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