The Coming Generations Will Pay Current Africa’s Debt – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has lamented Africa’s debt profile, saying the continent’s next generations will have no choice but to repay these debts.

Obasanjo who spoke at an event with the 2023 awardees of the Future Africa Leaders Foundation, an initiative of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, said African countries may find it difficult to secure debt relief considering their large debt profiles.

According to him, the debt relief secured by Nigeria from the Paris Club during his tenure was allegedly mismanaged by successive administrations and has plunged the country into huge and undeserved debt.

“With the level of mismanagement of the previous debts written off for the country, it will be almost impossible for any administration to get similar gesture in the continent,” the former President was quoted in a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi.

Describing debt as a trap that no individual or country should fall into, Obasanjo explained that leadership was the number one problem facing the continent.

The coming generations will have no choice but to pay the current debt being incurred by different countries in the continent,” Obasanjo said Wednesday.

Available data from the Debt Management Office puts Nigeria’s public debt at N87.91tn as of September 2023.

At the event, the former President commended Oyakhilome for his effort in building leaders, saying, “A leader should be able to set good examples, be bold and courageous when making decisions, accept mistakes and learn from them as well as have a realistic dream.”

According to the Debt Management Office, Nigeria’s total public debt rose to N87.91tn as of the end of the third quarter of 2023. Based on the data, total external debt stood at N31.98tn and domestic debt amounted to N55.93tn as of the period being reported.

The Obasanjo administration was credited for securing debt relief for Nigeria in 2003.

Two years later, Nigeria and the Paris Club announced a final agreement for debt relief worth $18bn and an overall reduction of Nigeria’s debt stock by $30bn. The deal was completed on April 21, 2006, when Nigeria made its final payment, and its books were cleared of any Paris Club debt.

In a related development, the former president stated that the country’s socio-economic situation could be better in four years or thereabouts with prayers and thanksgiving.

He expressed this hope at the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)Ogun State’s 5th Thanksgiving service of his conferment as the Asiwaju Onigbagbo, Ogun State, held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta on Tuesday.