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AfDB’s Akinwumi Adesina says Nigeria needs help

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The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina, said the international community needs to come to the aid of Nigeria as regards the country’s rising debt.

Adesina told the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum in New York on Thursday that Nigeria needs help to tackle its debt burden which is now N42.84 trillion or $103 billion.

Ripples Nigeria had previously reported that external debt levels rose to N16.61 trillion, and domestic debt hit N26.23 trillion as of June 30, 2022, after President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration borrowed N3.28 trillion in the first six months of this year.

The AfDB President reechoed the impact of the rising debt on Nigeria at the forum, saying “Nigeria’s total debt level is N42.84 trillion or $103 billion. External debt levels stand at N16.61 trillion or $40 billion. Ladies and gentlemen, Nigeria needs help to tackle this debt burden.”

He also stated that, “Financing is critical because the debt to GDP ratio of Africa has increased to 70 percent — several countries are at risk of high debt distress due to unstable, unsustainable debt levels.”

Explaining the situation, Adesina said, “International partnerships on debt are helping Africa, and Nigeria. The issuance of special drawing rights (SDR) by the International Monetary Fund of $650 billion helped provide liquidity support for countries. However, Africa only received $33 billion out of all of that. Pretty small.

Read also: ‘How to harness Nigeria’s diversity for economic development,’ AfDB President, Adesina

“A call made by the African heads of State for developed economies to rechannel $100 billion of additional SDRs to Africa will go a long way to reduce the debt burden in Nigeria.

“Allocating this SDR, some of this, through the African Development Bank will actually allow us to leverage it four times because we are a leveraging machine. We can deliver more financing to Nigeria and Africa.

“Nigeria and other African countries, in my view, therefore need debt relief. They cannot run up the hill carrying a backpack full of sand.” Adesina said.

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