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As African Leaders Say Don’t Worry, IMF Issues New Warning on Rising Debt Levels Across the Continent

There are conflicting messages emerging about the potential risks associated with Africa’s steadily rising debt levels. Yesterday, the IMF issued a new warning that the amount of debt that African governments now owe has doubled over the past years as borrowing from capital markets and bilateral lenders, particularly China, have both gone up dramatically. Now, the IMF reports that almost half of Africa’s 54 countries are near or at so-called “distressed” levels of debt.

But as we highlighted in yesterday’s newsletter, African leaders do not share the IMF’s concerns. In fact, quite the opposite, as they’re calling for a relaxation of the Fund’s 3% deficit restrictions. Instead, African stakeholders contend that borrowing heavily is absolutely essential to build the necessary infrastructure for the continent’s rapidly growing population.

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