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Ghana's Debt Crisis and the Political Economy of Financial Dependence in Africa : History Repeating Itself?

Title data

Akolgo, Isaac Abotebuno:
Ghana's Debt Crisis and the Political Economy of Financial Dependence in Africa : History Repeating Itself?
In: Development and Change. Vol. 54 (2023) Issue 5 . - pp. 1264-1295.
ISSN 1467-7660

Official URL: Volltext

Project information

Project title:
Project's official title
Project's id
Exzellenzcluster Africa Multiple, EXC 2052/1 - 390713894
No information

Project financing: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Abstract in another language

Recent accounts of the re-emergence of debt distress in Africa, while offering significant insights, fail to provide the historical political-economic context within which African indebtedness is set. On the surface, spending induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, economic fallout from the Russia–Ukraine war, and repeated examples of fiscal indiscipline by African governments appear to be the causes of the current wave of debt crises. Beyond these factors, however, this article argues that the present indebtedness, like previous episodes, is rooted in the economic and financial subordination of African economies. Specifically, the article places Ghana's extensive debt within the country's post-independence political-economic context, and thus traces the structural factors and external constraints that underlie its economic vulnerability and financial dependence. These include the collapse of developmentalism in the 1970s, the Structural Adjustment Programmes of the 1980s, and an exploitative transnational lending system dominated by Western commercial creditors. Internally, recent fiscal mistakes by the government, within its limited policy space, have exacerbated Ghana's indebtedness. The Ghanaian experience shows that unconditional debt cancellation, widely called for, is a necessary but insufficient measure to address the recurring cycles of indebtedness. Debt cancellation should be followed by broader economic and financial reforms, globally and domestically.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Institutions of the University: Graduate Schools > BIGSAS
Graduate Schools
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 330 Economics
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2023 22:00
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2023 07:25