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The Geopolitics of Africa’s Debt Crisis

Heightened geopolitical tensions underscore the urgent need for Western countries to help African countries tackle the ongoing debt crisis. Without Western support, poverty, hunger, and political instability could intensify across the continent, increasing the allure of Russian and Chinese overtures.

WASHINGTON, DC – The United States has a population of roughly 330 million, while all NATO countries combined have about 975 million. Adding NATO’s major Asian-Pacific partners – Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand – brings the total to 1.3 billion. By contrast, Russia and China together have a population of about 1.6 billion people. The rest of the world, including India and much of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, is home to 5.3 billion people.

Despite representing less than 15% of the world’s population, NATO countries account for about 31% of world GDP. Over time, however, the rest of the world’s share of the global economy is expected to increase, and its geopolitical allegiance should not be taken for granted.

Africa, in particular, is expected to become a major contributor to global growth over the coming century. But first, the continent must overcome several daunting challenges. While its population is projected to grow from 1.4 billion today to 3.3 billion by 2075, economic growth has been sluggish, and many African countries are currently experiencing or at high risk of debt crises. Without robust growth, migration pressures are likely to increase, exacerbating political instability and leading to widespread state failure.