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Africa's Odious Debts


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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Tales from the Shadows of International Finance
  • 2. Measuring African Capital Flight
  • 3. The Revolving Door
  • 4. The Human Costs
  • 5. The Way Forward
  • Appendix 1: Tables
  • Appendix 2: Summary Outcome and Policy Recommendations from the Senior Policy Seminar on Capital Flight in Sub-Saharan Africa, held in Pretoria, South Africa, November 2007.
  • Notes
  • References

About the Author

James K. Boyce is professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he directs the program on peacebuilding at the Political Economy Research Unit. Leonce Ndikumana is Director of the Development Research Department at the African Development Bank. Formerly Associate Professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Chief of Macroeconomic Analysis at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Leonce Ndikumana has contributed to various areas of research and policy analysis with a focus on African countries. He is an active member of major research networks around the world including the African Finance and Economics Association (AFEA) of which he is a former President, the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) where he serves as resource person, and others. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.


'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

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