Assessing Recent Determinants of Borrowing Costs in Sub‐Saharan Africa

Aleksandr Gevorkyan, Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven

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This study explores macroeconomic implications of the sovereign bond rush that has been taking place in sub‐Saharan Africa since 2006. The focus is on the sub‐Saharan sovereign bond yields as proxies for the region's ability to raise new funds on international markets. Despite the subcontinent's tour‐de‐force entrance to the international bond market, this paper reveals that recent (since early 2000s) borrowing in foreign currency is not without macroeconomic risk. Empirically this paper finds that sovereign bond yields are significantly influenced by global volatility, commodity prices and global liquidity—all factors that are out of the control of the sub‐Saharan economies in question. These findings suggest that portfolio repositioning by institutional investors prompted by improved growth prospects and implicit monetary policy tightening in the advanced economies or heightened risk perceptions, are likely to result in increased borrowing costs for the sub‐Saharan bond issuers and affect their ability to raise funds in international markets. Furthermore, a change in borrowing costs might lead to higher debt‐service costs and policy uncertainty, which in turn could lead to suboptimal investment levels and, ultimately, hinder economic development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-738
Number of pages27
JournalReview of Development Economics
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2016

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