When poor countries are forced to default on their foreign debt, as Ghana and Zambia have done, they pay a heavy price. Cut off from credit of any kind, spending on health, education and dealing with the damaging effects of climate change comes to a juddering halt.
Countries in the West often plead with us to invest in the kind of ambitious resilience projects we need to survive in a warming world. But in Africa, we can’t fix the climate issue unless we fix the debt issue. Of the 52 low- and middle-income countries that have defaulted on their debts or have come close to it in the last three years, 23 are in Africa. The continent’s debt burden is skyrocketing as a result of factors beyond its control: the aftershocks of the pandemic, rising fuel and food prices, higher interest rates and climate catastrophes that weaken our economies and sap our ability to repay creditors.
Read more: nytimes.com