In Africa's Odious Debts, Boyce and Ndikumana reveal the shocking fact that, contrary to the popular perception of Africa being a drain on the financial resources of the West, the continent is actually a net creditor to the rest of the world. The extent of capital flight from sub-Saharan Africa is remarkable: more than $700 billion in the past four decades. But Africa's foreign assets remain private and hidden, while its foreign debts are public, owed by the people of Africa through their governments.
Leonce Ndikumana and James K. Boyce reveal the intimate links between foreign loans and capital flight. Of the money borrowed by African governments in recent decades, more than half departed in the same year, with a significant portion of it winding up in private accounts at the very banks that provided the loans in the first place. Meanwhile, debt-service payments continue to drain scarce resources from Africa, cutting into funds available for public health and other needs. Controversially, the authors argue that African governments should repudiate these `odious debts' from which their people derived no benefit, and that the international community should assist in this effort.
A vital book for anyone interested in Africa, its future and its relationship with the West.
James K. Boyce is professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he directs the program on development, peacebuilding and the environment at the Political Economy Research Institute. His previous books include Peace and the Public Purse: Economic Policies for Postwar Statebuilding (co-edited with Madalene O'Donnell); Investing in Peace: Aid and Conditionality after Civil Wars; and A Quiet Violence: View from a Bangladesh Village (co-authored with Betsy Hartmann.) He is a graduate of Yale University and received his doctorate from Oxford University. Leonce Ndikumana is Professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He served as Director of Operational Policies and Director of Research at the African Development Bank, and Chief of Macroeconomic Analysis at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). He has contributed to various areas of research and policy analysis on African countries, including the issues of external debt and capital flight, financial markets and growth, macroeconomic policies for growth and employment, and the economics of conflict and civil wars in Africa. He is a graduate of the University of Burundi and received his doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Introduction 1. Tales from the Shadows of International Finance 2. Measuring African Capital Flight 3. The Revolving Door 4. The Human Costs 5. The Way Forward Appendix 1: Tables Appendix 2: Summary Outcome and Policy Recommendations from the Senior Policy Seminar on Capital Flight in Sub-Saharan Africa, held in Pretoria, South Africa, November 2007. Notes References