Being in debt is such an uncomforable position to be as an individual, organisation or a country. But sometimes, debt is nearly inevitable and the African continent, despite its fast-rising economic growth rate has countries which owe trillions of dollars.
Here are the top 10 African nations with the most debt, according to World Bank and CIA World Factbook with information regarding external debt of each country in US dollars. External debt is the total public and private debt owed to nonresidents, repayable in internationally accepted currencies goods or services.
20. Uganda – $4,126,000,000
The economy of Uganda has been reformed and growth has been better. The nation has a Human Development Index of 0.484 and is ranked 164 out of 186; one of the lowest in the world. In 2000, it was among the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief initiative worth $1.3 billion. Despite the average annual economic growth of 2.5% at the time Uganda’s poverty reduction did not change. In December 2012 Uganda’s external debt was $3.6 billion.
19. Namibia – $4,204,000,000
Even though Namibia enjoys high political, economic and social stability, the income gap between rich and poor is one of the most marked in the world.
The nation’s total debt represents an annualized growth rate of 14.41 percent. Its $4.2 billion external debt was last calculated in 2012.
18. Algeria – $4,344,000,000
Algeria’s economy is largely based on hydrocarbons. It is Africa’s 10th richest country (GDP per capita) and the second largest oil producer in Africa.
The nation is classified as an upper middle income country by the World Bank.Algeria’s external debt of $4.3 billion (2012) is low when compared to other African nations.
17. Cote d’Ivoire – $4,742,000,000
This West African country’s economy is largely market-based. In February, the nation issued a $1 billion bond with a staggering repayment schedule at a yield of 6.625 percent.
It is repayable in three installments in 2026, 2027 and 2028. The nation’s external debt was estimated at $4.7 billion in 2012.
16. Mozambique – $4,880,000,000
Mozambique ranks among the lowest in GDP per capita, measures of inequality, human development and average life expectancy. The nation’s economy has taken a beating due to corruption scandals.
Government debt to GDP in 2013 was 42.80 percent. In 2012 Mozambique had an external debt of $4.8 billion.
15. Libya – $5,278,000,000
The Libyan economy depends upon revenue from the oil sector, which accounts for 80 percent of GDP. World Bank defined Libya as an upper middle income economy. Libya’s national debt is increasing at an alarming rate.
The debt was 3.29 percent of GDP in 2013. It increased to 39.3 percent in 2014.Libya had an external debt of $5.2 billion in 2012.
14. Zambia – $5,445,000,000
Even though Zambia is one of the fastest economically reformed nations in the world, about 68 percent of Zambians live below the poverty line. Rural poverty rate is around 78 percent.
The nation recorded a government debt to GDP of 34.10 percent in 2013. Its external debt in 2012 was $5.4 billion.
13. Zimbabwe – $6,975,000,000
Zimbabwe has suffered economic decline under Mugabe’s leadership. Taxes and tariffs are very high for private companies.
The nation’s government debt to GDP was 49 percent in 2014. Poverty and unemployment are major issues in Zimbabwe. The 2012 external debt was $6.9 billion.
12. Republic of the Congo – $7,644,000,000
Petroleum is the mainstay of the economy of the Republic of Congo.
In the year 2010, IMF and World Bank approved $1.9 billion in debt relief for the nation. Congo’s 2012 external debt was estimated at $7.6 billion.
11. Democratic Republic of the Congo – $7,644,000,000
As of 2013, according to the Human Development Index, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has a low level of human development. The nation was 186th among 187 nations. Political instability and corruption are major issues faced by the nation.
IMF and World Bank announced $12.3 billion in debt relief for the nation in 2010. Its 2012 external debt was $7.6 billion.
10. Ethiopia – $9,956,000,000
Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The nation recorded a government debt to GDP of 27.4 percent. Ethiopian economy is in a good shape.
The sectors the debt is invested on rank at the top of the necessity and returns scale. Ethiopia has an external debt of $9.9 billion as of December 2012.
9. Nigeria – $10,100,000,000
In 2014, Nigeria’s economy became the largest in Africa, worth more than $500 billion and $1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity respectively. Nigeria is an emerging market.
8. Tanzania – $11,180,000,000
Tanzania’s 2013 Global Hunger Index was worse than any other country in the EAC except Burundi. Even though Tanzania is a poor country, it weathered the Great Recession (which began in 2008) relatively well. The nation recorded a government debt to GDP of 39.9 percent in 2013.
This $11.1 billion debt was calculated in December 2012.
7. Ghana – $11,230,000,000
Ghana is an emerging market. Ghana leadership is working towards making it first African nation to become a developed country between 2020 and 2029. The stock exchange of Ghana is the fifth largest in Africa. Ghana’s public stock as a percentage of GDP as of September 18 2014 stood at 60.8 percent. In December 2012 Ghana’s external debt was estimated at $11.2 billion.
External debt in Nigeria averaged $5943.38 from 2008 to 2015. In December 2012 the oil-rich nation’s debt was estimated at $10.1 billion.
6. Angola – $19,650,000,000
Even though Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves, majority of its wealth is with a few people. The country recorded a government debt to GDP of 31 percent in 2014.
Angola’s external debt of $19.6 billion was last calculated in 2012.
5. Tunisia – $24,490,000,000
Tunisia is an export-oriented nation. It ranks first in Africa for economic competitiveness. When it comes to HDI, Tunisia ranks fifth in Africa. The nation announced in January that it would issue $1.75 billion of dollar denominated bonds and Islamic sukuks this year as it seeks funds to boost economic growth.
The estimated debt of $24.4 billion was last calculated on December 31, 2012.
4. Morocco – $29,420,000,000
Morocco is a relatively liberal economy that is governed by the law of supply and demand. It recorded a government debt to GDP of 60.70 percent in 2013.
As of 31 December 2012, Morocco had an estimated external debt of $29.4 billion.
3. Sudan – $39,700,000,000
Sudan is a highly indebted nation. More than 85 percent of its debt is in arrears. Government debt to GDP averaged 83.54 percent from 2003 until 2011.
As of 31 December 2012, Sudan had an external debt of $40 billion.
2. Egypt – $48,760,000,000
Egypt recorded a government debt to GDP of a whopping 87.10 percent in 2013. Government debt to GDP in the country averaged 86.46 percent from 2002 until 2013.
As of the 31 December 2013, Egypt had an external debt of $49 billion.
1. South Africa – $137,500,000,000
South Africa is the country with the most debt in Africa. Even though South Africa is an upper middle income economy, poverty and inequality remain widespread.
The nation recorded a government debt to GDP of 46.10 percent in 2013. Government debt to GDP averaged 36.76 percent from 2000 until 2013 as per the National Treasury. As of 31 December 2012, South Africa had an external debt of $137.5 billion.