African leaders begging for debt relief at UN General Assembly including William Ruto

African leaders begging for debt relief at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly including William Ruto

Some African leaders took benefit of the UNGA, which is currently taking place in New York, to express their opinions on debt cancellations.

The large debt load for Africa According to reports, the total external debt held by African nations as of 2020 was estimated to be $702.4 billion, up from $380.9 billion.

The majority of their debt is owed to European nations and other major international lenders, and it is crippling for many African nations.

Many African nations pleaded with lenders like China, the EU, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for debt relief claiming that it is impeding the continent’s development.

According to the leaders, a large chunk of their revenue is usually sunk into debt servicing, leaving little for development and human capital development. 

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African leaders begging for debt relief

Speaking at the UN General Assembly, President William Ruto urged rich countries to open a dialogue with Africa on the debt burden, asking them to review debts owed by poorer African countries. 

Ruto said that debts paid by the countries are consuming the meager revenue accruing to those countries. 

He asked that the debt burden be lifted to allow poor African countries to develop their resources. 

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema told the BBC that the country’s $1.3 billion debt from IMF was circumstantial, saying it was due to what his administration inherited. 

He explained that debt servicing should be relaxed to allow Zambia’s revenue to be ploughed back into the economy to spur development. 

Hichilema said servicing $19 billion debt is burdensome, but when lowered and replaced with fair capital, the revenue from debt servicing would go back to revenue regeneration. 

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, called for a review of the eligibility criteria for debt cancellation for developing and the least developed countries in Africa. 

Meanwhile, analysts say Africa’s problems remain the mismanagement of resources and corruption and debt servicing. 

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