External Debt in Africa

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Policy Brief No: 3

In 2009, with an external debt of around US$300 billion, African countries spent about 16% of the continent’s export earnings on servicing their external debt. This is significantly less than during the height of the African debt crisis in the 1990s, when debt service at times exceeded 40% of export earnings1 (HIPC and MDRI status of implementation, IDA and IMF 2009). Yet, it still diverts scarce fiscal resources from crucial areas of spending for development and growth.

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