In Africa's Odious Debts, Boyce and Ndikumana reveal that, contrary to the popular perception of Africa being a drain on the financial resources of the developed world, more money destined for the West leaves the continent than it actually receives. The extent of capital flight from sub-Saharan Africa is remarkable: $420 billion in the period 1970-2004 - this hemorrhaging of capital being substantialy fueled by borrowing from international creditors. It also shows the hidden counterparts of Africa's external debts are the external assets built through such capital flight. The crucial difference being that whereas the debts are owed by the African people through their governments, these assets are strictly private, held by wealthy and politically well-connected individuals. Connecting these dots, the authors argue forcefully for selective repudiation of Africa's 'odious debts': external debts incurred by kleptocratic regimes without the consent of their people, from which the people derived no economic benefit. Going further, they demonstrate the devastating effect on the health and development of African nations due to this 'disappearing' wealth. A vital book for anyone interested in Africa, its future and its relationship with the West.
'Africa's Odious Debts is a path-breaking book that should be read by every student, professional and policymaker concerned with the causes of the region's underdevelopment. In a masterful, easily comprehendible and professionally thorough manner, the authors demolish the myth that African countries have received large net capital flows. In a detailed empirical presentation, they show quite the contrary: capital outflow from the poorest countries in the world, to the richest. This book should radically alter thinking and policy.' - John Weeks, Professor Emeritus, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 'Ndikumana and Boyce present a coruscating analysis of the deleterious impact of crushing debt and capital flight on poor African countries that are ironically among the largest recipients of foreign aid. Eminently readable, it is a fascinating study on how absolute power corrupts absolutely beyond the tethers of human conscience.' - Dev Kar, Lead Economist, Global Financial Integrity 'This is probably the most important book on Africa in recent years; it is vital reading for everyone with an interest in African affairs. The story of Africa's revolving door of inflowing debts and outflowing capital is one with catastrophic consequences for the ordinary people of Africa. Leonce Ndikumana and James Boyce have put in many years of legwork to explore the dimensions of this scandal, and the data they marshal shows, conclusively, how Africa has become a net creditor to the rest of the world, while remaining shackled to poverty by outstanding odious debts. Much can be done to free African countries from this appalling burden, and the authors are right to identify strengthening transparency, curtailing money laundering, repudiating odious debt and recovering stolen wealth as top priorities. Enraging, enlightening and encouraging in equal measure, this book combines passion and research excellence: a genuine tour de force." - John Christensen, Director, Tax Justice Network