The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper analyzes the causes of growth of Africa’s debt burden, and discusses the factors that induced African countries to seek external loans as well as the factors affecting the supply of external financing. The paper studies the development of some measures of debt burden for different categories of African debtors, and arrives at a hypothesis regarding feasible levels of debt and debt service ratios. In a final section, the paper discusses the options for debt relief using a simulation of payments ability.