Rating Africa’s Economies During Pandemic

Government debt burdens across sub-Saharan Africa are rising at a faster pace and to higher levels than elsewhere in emerging markets, heightening the risk of further rating downgrades and defaults, ratings agency Fitch warned on Tuesday.

Africa’s main oil exporters – Angola, the Republic of Congo, Gabon and Nigeria – have been hit particularly hard given their high reliance on oil revenues for fiscal and external financing, and the dependence of the rest of their economies on crude earnings. Countries with a concentration on tourism, particularly Cabo Verde and the Seychelles, have also been badly affected, Fitch said. While Mozambique and Republic of Congo already defaulted recently, ratings pointed to more stress ahead, with Zambia at ‘CC’ and Gabon, Mozambique and Republic of Congo ‘CCC’.

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