Needed: New Thinking about Africa’s Debt Burden
Manage episode 358734951 series 1211700
Africa might finally be on the verge of realizing its enormous potential. A booming, young, optimistic population. Vast reserves of the metals needed to power the clean energy transition worldwide. Widespread popular demands to end corruption. A growing middle class. Taken together, these assets could produce the prosperity and peace Africans deserve.
What stands in the way?
One of the most important blockages is too much debt, compounded by too much history of mismanaging past borrowings. Of the 54 countries identified by the United Nations as having severe debt problems, 24 are located in Sub-Saharan Africa today. Many are heading towards default, restructuring or cancellation. Unfortunately, growth and development are likely to suffer as a result.
Bright Simons, a researcher and policy activist in Ghana, thinks it's time to do something different. **He recently published an article in The Financial Times arguing that debt cancellation is not the solution Africa needs now. **Some critics responded that cancellation is as urgent today as it was 20 years ago. But, is rinse and repeat any more likely to work this time?