Ghana borrows $13.5b from China since 1998

Ghana is one of the countries in Africa facing high risk of debt distress, because the country has been on a borrowing spree. Some available data shows that Ghana has since 1998 borrowed more than $13.5 billion from the Chinese.

The highest the country has ever borrowed was $1.77 billion in 2013, according to the data.

The data collected and processed by the School of Advanced International Studies, China Africa Research Initiative (SAIS-CARI) at the Boston University Global Development Policy Centre, shows that in 20 years, Chinese lending to African countries, including Ghana, amounted to $153 billion.

SAIS-CARI estimated that between 2000 and 2019, Chinese financiers signed 1,141 loan commitments worth $153 billion with African governments and their state-owned enterprises. It clarifies however, that the figures are not equivalent to African government debt, as the database does not track disbursement or repayment.

Estimates by of the data on Ghana shows that the country has borrowed a total of $13.5 billion from the Chinese from 1998 to 2019.

The data sources include official government documents, contractor websites, fieldwork, interviews, and media sources.

The database includes all mainland Chinese loans, which may come from a variety of sources, including: Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM); The two Chinese policy banks— Export-Import Bank of China (Eximbank) and China Development Bank (CDB); Chinese private/commercial banks—Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Construction Bank (CCB), Bank of China (BoC), China CITIC, Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), China Merchant Bank (CMB), etc.; Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) or private businesses providing suppliers credits or investment loan financing; People’s Bank of China – the central bank of China, who is a relatively new lender in Africa compared to the Chinese policy banks, the researchers indicated.

The Boston University Global Development Policy Center has been managing the Africa Database as of March 29, 2021.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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