IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Working Paper 356 - Eurobonds, debt sustainability and macroeconomic performance in Africa: Synthetic controlled experiments



There has been a strong wave of Eurobond issuances by Africa’s frontier market economies since the start of the century. But it is not clear how these issuances have affected economic performance. This paper uses synthetic control experiments to conduct comparative case study analysis to assess whether sovereign Eurobond issuances have had the expected impacts on economic growth, debt sustainability, and domestic capital markets as indicated in the issue prospectuses. We compare the evolution of several indicators of economic performance, post-Eurobond issuance, against their synthetically constructed counterfactual trajectories in the absence of Eurobond issuances. The results show that sovereign Eurobond issuances have accelerated the evolution of per capita GDP in Africa. The magnitude is equivalent to about 10 percent on average, ten years following the intervention. Although most issuances were within 3 percent of GDP, they potentially led to a 13-percentage points acceleration in the debt-to-GDP ratios ten years after issuance, compared to the no-issuance counterfactual scenario. The evidence on the effect of Eurobond issuances on capital accumulation is inconclusive, although we find a strong positive correlation in selected countries. We did not find any systematic impact of Eurobond issuances on domestic capital market development. In sum, despite some unsuccessful cases, the effect of Eurobond issuances on Africa’s frontier market economies has been positive but susceptible to increasing debt vulnerabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Chuku Chuku & Mustafa Yasin Yenice, 2021. "Working Paper 356 - Eurobonds, debt sustainability and macroeconomic performance in Africa: Synthetic controlled experiments," Working Paper Series 2482, African Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:adb:adbwps:2482

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gelos, R. Gaston & Sahay, Ratna & Sandleris, Guido, 2011. "Sovereign borrowing by developing countries: What determines market access?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 243-254, March.
    2. Andreas Billmeier & Tommaso Nannicini, 2013. "Assessing Economic Liberalization Episodes: A Synthetic Control Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 983-1001, July.
    3. Eaton, Jonathan & Taylor, Lance, 1986. "Developing country finance and debt," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 209-265, June.
    4. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2002. "Resolving the Debt Crisis of Low-Income Countries," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(1), pages 257-286.
    5. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    6. Mr. Alun H. Thomas, 2009. "Access to Market Financing for IDA-eligible Countries—the Role of External Debt and IMF-Supported Programs," IMF Working Papers 2009/217, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Jushan Bai, 2009. "Panel Data Models With Interactive Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1229-1279, July.
    8. Kennedy, Mike & Palerm, Angel, 2014. "Emerging market bond spreads: The role of global and domestic factors from 2002 to 2011," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 70-87.
    9. Hauner, David, 2009. "Public debt and financial development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 171-183, January.
    10. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
    11. Mr. Yibin Mu & Mr. Peter Phelps & Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky, 2013. "Bond Markets in Africa," IMF Working Papers 2013/012, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Peter Hjertholm, 2003. "Theoretical and empirical foundations of HIPC debt sustainability targets," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(6), pages 67-100.
    13. Alberto Abadie & Alexis Diamond & Jens Hainmueller, 2015. "Comparative Politics and the Synthetic Control Method," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 59(2), pages 495-510, February.
    14. Alberto Abadie & Javier Gardeazabal, 2003. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case Study of the Basque Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 113-132, March.
    15. Hanan Morsy & Eman Moustafa & Tiguene Nabassaga & Mustafa Yenice, 2021. "Investor Herding and Spillovers in African Debt Markets," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 111, pages 607-610, May.
    16. Barry Eichengreen & Ashoka Mody, 1998. "What Explains Changing Spreads on Emerging-Market Debt: Fundamentals or Market Sentiment?," NBER Working Papers 6408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Alberto Abadie, 2021. "Using Synthetic Controls: Feasibility, Data Requirements, and Methodological Aspects," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 391-425, June.
    18. Mr. David A. Grigorian, 2003. "On the Determinants of First-Time Sovereign Bond Issues," IMF Working Papers 2003/184, International Monetary Fund.
    19. Astorga, Pablo, 2010. "A century of economic growth in Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 232-243, July.
    20. Boyd, John H. & Levine, Ross & Smith, Bruce D., 2001. "The impact of inflation on financial sector performance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 221-248, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Peter Backus & Thien Nguyen, 2021. "The Effect of the Sex Buyer Law on the Market for Sex, Sexual Health and Sexual Violence," Economics Discussion Paper Series 2106, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    2. Chiara Natalie Focacci & Mitja Kovac & Rok Spruk, 2022. "The perils of Kremlin's influence: evidence from Ukraine," Papers 2206.04950,
    3. Mr. Andrea F Presbitero & Lamin Njie & Mr. Olumuyiwa S Adedeji & Mr. Dhaneshwar Ghura, 2015. "International Sovereign Bonds by Emerging Markets and Developing Economies: Drivers of Issuance and Spreads," IMF Working Papers 2015/275, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Olper, Alessandro & Curzi, Daniele & Swinnen, Johan, 2018. "Trade liberalization and child mortality: A Synthetic Control Method," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 394-410.
    5. Echevarría, Cruz A. & Hasancebi, Serhat & García-Enríquez, Javier, 2022. "Economic Effects of Macao’s Integration with Mainland China: A Causal Inference Study," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 37(2), pages 179-215.
    6. Bruno Ferman & Cristine Pinto & Vitor Possebom, 2020. "Cherry Picking with Synthetic Controls," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 39(2), pages 510-532, March.
    7. Bibek Adhikari & Romain Duval & Bingjie Hu & Prakash Loungani, 2018. "Can Reform Waves Turn the Tide? Some Case Studies using the Synthetic Control Method," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 879-910, September.
    8. Dennis Shen & Peng Ding & Jasjeet Sekhon & Bin Yu, 2022. "Same Root Different Leaves: Time Series and Cross-Sectional Methods in Panel Data," Papers 2207.14481,, revised Oct 2022.
    9. Florence Bouvet & Roy Bower & Jason C. Jones, 2022. "Currency Devaluation as a Source of Growth in Africa: A Synthetic Control Approach," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 48(3), pages 367-389, June.
    10. Avdic, Daniel & von Hinke, Stephanie, 2021. "Extending alcohol retailers’ opening hours: Evidence from Sweden," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 138(C).
    11. Noémi Kreif & Richard Grieve & Dominik Hangartner & Alex James Turner & Silviya Nikolova & Matt Sutton, 2016. "Examination of the Synthetic Control Method for Evaluating Health Policies with Multiple Treated Units," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(12), pages 1514-1528, December.
    12. Bibek Adhikari & James Alm, 2016. "Evaluating the Economic Effects of Flat Tax Reforms Using Synthetic Control Methods," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 83(2), pages 437-463, October.
    13. Victor Chernozhukov & Kaspar Wüthrich & Yinchu Zhu, 2021. "An Exact and Robust Conformal Inference Method for Counterfactual and Synthetic Controls," Journal of the American Statistical Association, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 116(536), pages 1849-1864, October.
    14. Abidemi Adisa & Michael Farmer & Jamie Bologna Pavlik, 2023. "The effect of the Mahathir regime on the Malaysian economy," Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 31(1), pages 97-114, January.
    15. Barati Mehdi, 2019. "Punishment Severity and Crime: The Case of Arkansas," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 15(1), pages 1-23, March.
    16. Zhipeng Tang & Wenming Song & Jialing Zou, 2022. "The Early Effect of Black Land Protection Plan in Northeast China on Industrial Pollution Using Synthetic Control Method," Land, MDPI, vol. 11(4), pages 1-15, April.
    17. Marchesi, Silvia & Masi, Tania, 2021. "Life after default. Private and official deals," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 113(C).
    18. McCloud, Nadine, 2022. "Does domestic investment respond to inflation targeting? A synthetic control investigation," International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 98-134.
    19. Alice Lépissier & Matto Mildenberger, 2021. "Unilateral climate policies can substantially reduce national carbon pollution," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 166(3), pages 1-21, June.
    20. Susan Athey & Mohsen Bayati & Nikolay Doudchenko & Guido Imbens & Khashayar Khosravi, 2021. "Matrix Completion Methods for Causal Panel Data Models," Journal of the American Statistical Association, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 116(536), pages 1716-1730, October.

    More about this item


    Eurobonds; debt sustainability; synthetic control experiments; Africa JEL classification: F34; G15;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:adb:adbwps:2482. 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: . General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Adeleke Oluwole Salami (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    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.