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  • Writer's pictureTuka Institute

Who holds African states debt (2 of 4)

Spotlight on Ghana and Nigeria's top lenders

Our next spotlight is on two of the largest West African economies: Ghana and Nigeria. Both countries have been very active on the eurobond market, making bondholders their largest creditors. Ghana's debt volume to bondholders as of 2019 is larger than the amount the country owed to the World Bank and IMF combined.

The charts below are based on the 2019 amount of debt outstanding and disbursed according to the World Bank debtor reporting system.

Source: World bank debtor reporting system

Source: World bank debtor reporting system

A few observations:

1. Ghana is the only country in the West African region having the United States among its top 5 lenders.

2. Ghana has the largest number of bilateral lenders (total of 16 lenders) in the region while, although its total debt volume is larger, Nigeria has one of the lowest number (total of 5 lenders) of bilateral lenders in West Africa.

3. Although France is known for its bilateral relationship with francophone West Africa, France also has a strong presence in the two largest english speaking countries in Western Africa. The country is the second largest bilateral lender of both Ghana and Nigeria.

4. Similar to other African countries, China is the largest bilateral lender of Ghana and Nigeria. Ghana and Nigeria have partnered with China on multiple infrastructure projects primarily in the transportation and energy sectors. In Nigeria, the largest project financed by China is the Lagos-Ibadan railway project mobilizing over 1.2 billion USD a. And half of the projects China financed in Ghana supported the country's energy infrastructure.

By Levi Kedowide, President @ TUKA Institute

a - China Africa Research Initiative and Boston University Global Development Policy Center. 2021. Chinese Loans to Africa Database, Version 2.0. Retrieved from

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