To Bridge the Gaps Between Gross Government Debts in ECOWAS


By Benjamin Boakye

As Nigeria and Ghana stand together to address pressing issues surrounding the debt crisis in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region, particularly in Ghana and Nigeria, I want to say that the journey we are undertaking is not just about numbers and economic indicators. The journey is about shaping the future of our nations and the well-being of our people.

We seek results through our collaborative effort. These results I believe will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the entire African continent. As we delve into the intricacies of the debt crisis, it is evident that the challenges faced by Ghana and Nigeria are not unique but shared among many ECOWAS member states. The gap between general gross government debt and debt service commitments has widened, reflecting the growing struggle to balance debt accumulation with the capacity for sustainable debt servicing.

Ghana and Nigeria, along with nine other ECOWAS countries, find themselves in a state of debt distress, underscoring the urgency and importance of our collective endeavours to find sustainable solutions. We cannot ignore the fact that despite past debt relief initiatives, the fiscal deficits, high debt servicing costs, and the ongoing global pandemic persist as formidable challenges.

The proactive steps taken by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy in collaboration with the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice. Together, we have commissioned research on the allocation and utilization of SDRs in Ghana and Nigeria. This research aims to provide insights that go beyond numbers, ensuring transparency and accountability in the use of these funds.

It is important for ECOWAS to embrace this opportunity not only to discuss challenges but to collectively chart a course towards a sustainable and equitable economic recovery. ACEP expresses its willingness to strengthen collaborations and partnerships, working hand in hand with all stakeholders to ensure that the outcomes of our efforts positively impact the lives of our people.

Together, Nigeria and Ghana, we can make Special Drawing Rights, SDRs, work for our people, and by extension, contribute to the prosperity of the entire ECOWAS region.


Benjamin Boakye is Executive Director of Africa Centre for Energy Policy, ACEP, Ghana.

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