IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/taf/irapec/v25y2011i2p149-170.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Capital flight from sub-Saharan Africa: linkages with external borrowing and policy options

Author

Listed:
  • Leonce Ndikumana
  • James Boyce

Abstract

Even as African countries became increasingly indebted, they experienced large-scale capital flight. Some of this was legitimately acquired capital fleeing economic and political uncertainties; some was illegitimately acquired wealth spirited to safer havens abroad. This paper presents new estimates of the magnitude and timing of capital flight from 33 sub-Saharan African countries from 1970 to 2004. We then analyze its determinants, including linkages to external borrowing. Our results confirm that sub-Saharan Africa is a net creditor to the rest of the world, in that the subcontinent's private external assets exceed its public external liabilities: total capital flight amounted to $443 billion (in 2004 dollars), compared to the external debt of $195 billion. Econometric analysis indicates that for every dollar in external loans to Africa in this period, roughly 60 cents flowed back out as capital flight in the same year, a finding that suggests the existence of widespread debt-fueled capital flight. The results also show a debt-overhang effect, as increases in the debt stock spur additional capital flight in later years. In addition to policies for recovery of looted wealth and repatriation of externally held assets, we discuss the need for policies to differentiate between legitimate and odious debts, both to ease current burdens on African countries and to improve international financial governance in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonce Ndikumana & James Boyce, 2011. "Capital flight from sub-Saharan Africa: linkages with external borrowing and policy options," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(2), pages 149-170.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:25:y:2011:i:2:p:149-170 DOI: 10.1080/02692171.2010.483468
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02692171.2010.483468
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Luiz-Fernando De Paula & Antonio J. Alves, 2003. "Banking behaviour and the Brazilian economy after the Real Plan: The post-Keynesian approch," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 56(227), pages 337-365.
    2. Axel A. Weber & Wolfgang Lemke & Andreas Worms, 2008. "How useful is the concept of the natural real rate of interest for monetary policy?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(1), pages 49-63, January.
    3. Alvaro Angeriz & Philip Arestis, 2008. "Assessing inflation targeting through intervention analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(2), pages 293-317, April.
    4. Luiz Fernando de Paula, 2007. "FINANCIAL LIBERALISATION, EXCHANGE RATE REGIME AND ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE IN BRICs COUNTRIES," Anais do XXXV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 35th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 016, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    5. Alvaro Angeriz & Philip Arestis, 2007. "Assessing the Performance of 'Inflation Targeting Lite' Countries," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(11), pages 1621-1645, November.
    6. Luis Miguel Galindo & Jaime Ros, 2008. "Alternatives to inflation targeting in Mexico," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(2), pages 201-214.
    7. Philip Arestis & Malcolm Sawyer, 2008. "Are the European Central Bank and Bank of England Macroeconomic Models Consistent with the New Consensus in Macroeconomics?," Ekonomia, Cyprus Economic Society and University of Cyprus, vol. 11(2), pages 51-68, Winter.
    8. Reisen, Helmut & Grandes, Martín, 2005. "Exchange rate regimes and macroeconomic performance in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:25:y:2011:i:2:p:149-170. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: http://www.tandfonline.com/CIRA20 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.