9 Africa Countries With Highest Public Debt Profile


1. Egypt ($287.5 billion).

The external debt was $92.64 billion at the end of fiscal 2017/2018. Egypt’s fiscal year begins on July 1.

Egypt paid $3.23 billion in interest and repaid $10.15 billion in principal in the year, the data showed. It paid $2.17 billion in interest and repaid $11.08 billion in principal the prior year.

Gross domestic debt rose to 4.20 trillion Egyptian pounds ($260 billion), or 79% of GDP, at end-March, the most recent figure available, from 3.70 trillion pounds at end-June 2018, or 83.3% of GDP. ($1 = 16.1350 Egyptian pounds) 

2. South Africa ($221.7 billion)

South Africa’s Government debt accounted for 62.2 % of the country’s Nominal GDP in Dec 2019, compared with the ratio of 56.7 % in the previous year. South Africa’s government debt to GDP ratio data is updated yearly, available from Dec 1960 to Dec 2019.

The data reached an all-time high of 62.2 % in Dec 2019 and a record low of 26.5 % in Dec 2008. CEIC calculates Government Debt as % of Nominal GDP from monthly Government Debt and annual Nominal GDP.

South African Reserve Bank provides Government Debt in local currency. Statistics South Africa provides Nominal GDP in local currency. South Africa’s National Government Debt reached 221.7 USD bn in Jan 2020. The country’s Nominal GDP reached 87.2 USD bn in Sep 2019.

4. Morocco ($95 billion) .

Morocco has received numerous loans from international institutions, including the World Bank.

In November 2019, the bank announced that it had approved a new $300 million loan to support the strengthening of “Morocco’s municipalities” as part of Morocco’s reforms to upgrade public administrations

Morocco, received several other loans, including $150 million from France, €100 million from the African Development Bank, and €401.5 million from the EU Investment Bank.

Top bankers in Morocco have warned about the increasing external debt, including Abdellatif Jouahri, the governor of Morocco’s central bank, Bank al-Maghrib

4. Angola ($95 billion)

Mário Zamaroczy, who heads the IMF delegation on a visit to Angola ton 22 March 2020 to assess the implementation of the financial aid programme, recalled that Angolan public debt currently exceeds 71% of GDP, with an estimated value of US$78 .5 billion.

The official, who made the remarks at the end of a meeting with the 5th National Assembly’s Economy and Finance Committee, recalled that Angola and the IMF have a financing programme valued at US$3.7 billion, approved by the Board of Directors on 7 December 2018, hence the need for periodic evaluation.

5. Algeria ( $77.76 billion)

External Debt in Algeria averaged 4336.82 USD Million from 2007 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 5859 USD Million in the third quarter of 2010 and a record low of 3021 USD Million in the fourth quarter. 

Algeria has been under financial pressure after a fall in energy earnings and foreign exchange reserves amid growing demands from the country’s 43 million people to improve living standards.

Several senior officials and prominent businessmen have been jailed on corruption charges since the eruption of mass protests that ousted veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika who sought a fifth term in office.

6. Nigeria ($70.801 billion).

The Senate earlier this year put the Nigeria’s total debt profile at N33 trillion after its approval of $22.7 billion foreign loan for the federal government penultimate week.

This is just as the Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Mrs. Patience Oniha, expressed concern that economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic may incapacitate the country from effectively servicing the debt.

Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debts, Senator Muhammad Enagi, who made Nigeria’s current debt profile known at a public lecture with the theme “Public Debt in Nigeria: Trend, Sustainability and Management declared that from a low ratio of debt to gross domestic product (GDP) of about 3.4 per cent at independence, Nigeria’s total public debt as at September 30, 2019 according to the Debt Management Office (DMO), stands at about N26.2 trillion (or $85.4 Billion).

7. Sudan ($63.7 billion)

Sudan is in debt distress, reducing its capacity to mobilize domestic resources or to borrow from international markets. By September 2019, outstanding public and publicly guaranteed external debt was estimated at about $60 billion, up from $53.6 billion in 2016 and $56 billion in 2018.

Extreme poverty fell from 29.6% of the population in 2010 to 25.2% in 2015, as inequality declined more in rural areas than in urban ones.

8. Kenya ($60 billion)

According to Cytonn Investments, the rising government debt has been driven by “an ever-expansionary budget with the government embarking on infrastructural spending on projects that are expected to develop the country and spur economic growth”.

The most visible of these is the Chinese-funded Standard Gauge Railway, for which the government borrowed $3.27bn for the first phase, and $1.5bn for the ongoing Phase 2 from Nairobi to Naivasha.

The other main reason has been a shortfall in tax revenues, which have resulted in a widening budget deficit. The current deficit is estimated at 6.3% of GDP, though the Finance Ministry expects it to fall to 5.0% in the 2019/20 fiscal year. The Kenya Revenue Authority has already warned that it will miss its revenue collection targets for the fiscal year.

9. Ethiopia ($52.57 billion).

In 2018 Ethiopia public debt was 48,991 million dollars, has increased 4,620 million since 2017.

This amount means that the debt in 2018 reached 61.04% of Ethiopia GDP, a 2.48 percentage point rise from 2017, when it was 58.56% of GDP.

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