African Countries Debt: Gamblers in a Casino

The official story is the one of a “Rising” Africa. But, what exactly is rising?

Behind the headlines heralding Africa as the fastest growing continent, one could easily spot a hidden drama of an entire continent mortgaging its future with unsustainable level of public debt, and private equity taking over local resources.

Let ask ourselves a question to get started: “Is a country which debt increased 13.4% in a year, and in the same year its GDP grew 12.7% be considered a fast growing economy?
What if the contracted debt has interest rate at 6%, is the country still a fast growing economy?”

That’s the story of Ethiopia, one of the media heralded fast growing African economy.

That’s the same story for the top 10 “fastest growing” African economies. Uganda debt grew 12.5%, while its GDP increased only 6.2%. Zambia debt increased 12.2% while its GDP grew only 7.6%. Cameroon debt grew 9.1% while its GDP increased 2.4%. Angola debt grew 9.1% while its GDP increased 3.4%. Ghana debt grew 8.8% while its GDP increased 8%. Côte d’Ivoire debt grew 9.1% while its GDP increased only 2.4%. Nigeria, one of the least indebted African country, increased its debt 6.5% while its GDP grew 8%. Senegal debt increased 4.2% while its GDP grew 4.3%. Kenya debt increased 5.6% while its GDP grew 5.8%.

Overall, a large number of African countries have increased their external debt to over 50% of their GDP, with interest rate at 6.5%, naively backed with sluggish GDP growth merely at 5 to 8%, and confronted with 10+% yearly currency depreciations against debt currencies.

Except Nigerian which debt is only 11% of its GDP, the story of the “rising” economies is the one of rising debts, with the simple formula: Borrow money= get cash to spend = GDP growth.

In the current circumstances, our countries need a minimum of 17% GDP growth per year to be able to reimburse only the interest of their debt, and then pray God about where to find the money to pay the debt itself at maturity.

Tell me, where are the African countries with 17% GDP growth per year, like China in the years 1980s?

Africa is just selling its future to debt with empty narrative of growth, while depleting its resources to pay interest rates. We will be left with nothing, owned by foreigners, and living under apartheid.

Here below are the numbers we have crunched to get a better understanding of the African rising story. We start with the top 11 countries which  debt had already reached 50+% of their GDP, then display a table covering other africans countries debt level.

1. Cape Verde
Ratio Debt to GDP: 114%
GDP : $1.8 Billion


2. Egypt
Ratio Debt to GDP: 90%
GDP: $286 Billion


3. Zimbabwe
Ratio Debt to GDP: 77%
GDP: $13 Billion


4. Sudan
Ratio Debt to GDP: 70%
GDP : $74 Billion


5. Sao Tome and Principe
Ratio Debt to GDP: 68%
GDP: $0.3 Billion


6. Ghana
Ratio Debt to GDP: 68%
GDP: $39 Billion


7. Mauritania
Ratio Debt to GDP: 67%
GDP: $5 Billion


8. Seychelles
Ratio Debt to GDP: 65%
GDP: $1.4 Billion


9. Morocco
Ratio Debt to GDP: 64%
GDP: $109 Billion


10. Mozambique
Ratio Debt to GDP: 55%
GDP: $17 Billion


11. Mauritius
Ratio Debt to GDP: 53%
GDP: $13 Billion


Table of Data: African Countries debt and GDP growth



There are two ways to conquer a nation: the sword or debt. What Europe had not succeed to do with colonization in Africa, it is  achieving it now with debt.

Like Thomas Sankara put it “Debt is a cleverly managed reconquest of Africa. It is a reconquest that turns each one of us into a financial slave. Those who led us into debt were gambling, as if they were in a casino. There is talk of a crisis. No. They gambled. They lost… We cannot repay the debt because we have nothing to pay it with.”

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About Mawuna KOUTONIN

Mawuna Koutonin is a world peace activist who relentlessly works to empower people to express their full potential and pursue their dreams, regardless of their background. He is the Editior of, Founder of, and Social activist for Africa Renaissance. Koutonin’s ultimate dream is to open a world-class human potential development school in Africa in 2017. If you are interested in learning more about this venture or Koutonin’s other projects, you can reach him directly by emailing at

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