African Leaders- Current Debt vs. Development

African leaders and their constituents seem to be having two totally divergent conversations about the issue of debt vs. development.

On the one hand, leaders like Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and now the African Union's newly appointed High Representative for Infrastructure Development (and Kenyatta rival), Raila Odinga, represent the "borrow today and pay tomorrow" point of view to finance their hugely ambitious rail, road, and port projects.

These leaders are actively resisting pressure from their own people to ease up on the surging levels of debts they're taking on, not just from the Chinese but other countries and private lenders.

Meantime, with taxes on the rise in Kenya and a looming sense that it will just not be possible for most African states to pay back the billions their governments have borrowed, a lot of people are saying "enough!" People understand the need to develop but a lot of folks also remember the painful period in the 80s and 90s when massive debts crippled most African economies.

From afar, it just doesn't seem like there is enough dialogue between African peoples and their politicians to find the right balance between debt and development. Sadly, it also doesn't seem like the situation is set to improve anytime soon.


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