Strong indications emerged that many African countries are still struggling with rising foreign debt profile, as Nigeria and nine other countries in the continent are indebted to China to the tune of $83.3billion, which financial experts believe would continue to hamper the growth and development of the continent.

Recall that the United States of America had earlier this year expressed deep worries over the increasing debt burden by Nigeria and many other African countries, especially less than 10 years after they were granted relief by international financial institutions.

Recent statistics of African countries indebted to China show that Angola leads the pack of most indebted African countries to China with an estimated debt of US $25billion followed by Ethiopia with an estimated debt of $13.5billion.

It was gathered that while Angola, which is the second biggest crude oil producer in Africa after Nigeria has lost a lot of its oil in servicing of the loans to China, Ethiopia’s ambitious rail project connecting Djibouti has had to be slowed down due to the debts.

According to the statistics, Kenya comes third on the list with an estimated loan of $7.9billion, which was meant for development of infrastructure but greater part of which has been lost due to corruption. This is followed by the Republic of Congo, also called Congo Brazzaville with an estimated loan of $7.3billion, in which corruption is believed to have played a major role in the accumulation of the debts.

Northern Sudan is also struggling with a loan stock estimate of $6.4billion to China, part of which the country has written off while land –locked Zambia is indebted to it to the tune of $6billion, prompting China to take over the country’s electricity distribution over her inability to service the loans.

Other indebted African countries to China include Cameroon to the tune of $5.5billion, as it was recently reported that China has accepted a deal with the country to cancel some of the debts. Nigeria, which recently signed a currency swap deal with China, which made the Yuan reserve currency, is also indebted to China to the tune of $4.8billion.

Also included on the African-nation debtor list of the Chinese Government include Ghana with an estimated debt of $3.5billion, in which the opposition in the country has called on the International Monetary Fund IMF to help address the rising debt profile as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo with an estimated debt stock of $3.4billion. The DRC is reputed to be the first African country to exchange her mineral resources for loans obtained from China.

The U.S. Department of State, during a background briefing on the first trip of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Africa, March this year, said that the increasing debt profile of the African countries was unhelpful to the continent.

Mr. Tillerson who met with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and also leaders of Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya during the visit, advised the countries to resort more to domestic debts to fund developmental projects.

Available records also show that to date, debt reduction packages under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries HIPC Initiative have been approved for 36 countries globally, 30 of them in Africa, providing $76 billion in debt-service relief over time.

In 2005, to help accelerate progress toward the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, the HIPC Initiative was supplemented by the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative MDRI.

Recall that former President Olusegun Obasanjo secured a debt relief for Nigeria to the tune of about $12 billion in a deal that saw the country repay about $18 billion, being one of the few countries that benefitted from debt cancellation then.

Only recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, warned that the country’s economy may slip back into recession, citing rising sovereign debt profile, slow down in the oil sector, with strong linkages to employment and growth, late implementation of the 2018 budget, weakening demand and consumer spending, rising contractors’ debts as well as low minimum wage as some of the risks to output growth, among several others.