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African Countries' Access to International Bond Markets: Benefits, Risks and Solutions

Gregory Smith * Gestionnaire de fonds dédiés aux marchés émergents, M&G Investments ; ancien économiste en chef, Banque mondiale. Contact :

The size and composition of Africa's sovereign debt has changed rapidly in the decade following the global financial crisis. Several new borrowing opportunities have emerged, including in global debt markets, where many African countries have issued hard-currency sovereign Eurobonds. This increased access to borrowing from private sources has filled financing gaps and improved opportunities for progress toward the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. However, while the issuance of Eurobonds has had many benefits, it has also presented clear risks for sovereign issuers. In 2020, the consequences of the pandemic crisis have increased the debt burden of most African countries. The crisis has also highlighted the need for urgent measures to mitigate debt risks, preserve market access and ensure the continued sustainability of public debt.

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