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Ghana Shows the Global South’s Debt Problem is Bigger than China

Ghana President, Nana Akufo-Addo. Kola SULAIMON / AFP

The news that Ghana has defaulted on its external debt is sending shivers through the continent. It immediately raises questions about how the Ghanaian people will overcome the crisis and which country could be next. In response to the default, today’s newsletter examines the debt issue from multiple sides.

Ghana’s default forms part of a global wave of debt distress. It was partly caused by a sharp spike in commercial lending by many governments, which was then flipped into a crisis by external factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war. While these crises were generally not caused by China’s much-increased lending to poor countries over the last two decades, Chinese loans certainly contribute to the load.

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