African debt: What to watch in 2021

By The Africa Report

Posted on Tuesday, 9 February 2021 14:09, updated on Wednesday, 17 February 2021 13:36
President Yoweri Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni /Rachel Mabala

African debt levels have been on the rise for the past few years and the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down the growth that is needed to keep the biggest borrowers solvent.

Zambia (government debt of 120% of GDP in 2020) was the first country to hit a crisis, defaulting on its eurobond in October. Analysts are also sounding the alarm about Angola (120.3%) and the Republic of Congo (104.5%).

The IMF typically recommends that African countries maintain their debts at below 60% of GDP. The World Bank predicts that average sub-Saharan African debt will hit a peak of 67.4% of GDP in 2021. Growth rates are expected to pick up next year and the Covid-19 crisis has led many countries to re-evaluate their development plans.