A particularly gruesome example of overindebtedness can be found in West Africa.

Expand chart
Data: Jubilee Debt Campaign; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The details: Ghana's foreign-currency debts are rising. The current IMF program, which began in 2015, projected external debt of 40% of GDP this year and total debt of 61%. The actual numbers look more like 46% and 71%, respectively.

  • Its government revenues are flat: In 2014, before the IMF program started, they were 17.8% of GDP. They were meant to rise to 20.3% this year, but instead they have fallen slightly, to 17.6%.
  • Its currency is in free fall: Government revenues are in Ghanaian cedis. It now takes roughly 5 cedis to buy $1, up from 2.5 cedis at the beginning of 2014.

The bottom line: In 2018, a majority of Ghana's government revenues will be spent just on servicing the country's foreign-currency-denominated debt, per the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

  • With all those revenues leaving the country, there's much less left over for Ghanaians: Real domestic government expenditure has fallen from 820 cedis per person in 2013 to just 680 cedis per person last year. No wonder growth is anemic.
  • Ghana is an extreme example of what's happening in Africa more broadly: On average, African countries spent 11.8% of their revenues on external debt payments last year, a number that has more than doubled in the past five years.

The big question: What will happen when the current IMF program ends in April? New loans, from the IMF or anybody else, are unlikely to be the answer when the problem is that Ghana already has too much debt.

Go deeper

Trump claims TikTok will be banned if not sold by Sept. 15

President Trump said Monday that TikTok will be shut down in the U.S. if it hasn't been bought by Microsoft or another company by Sept. 15.

Why it matters: Trump appears to have backed off his threat to immediately ban TikTok after speaking with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who said Sunday that the company will pursue discussions with TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance to purchase the app in the U.S.

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 18,147,574 — Total deaths: 690,573 — Total recoveries — 10,753,815Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 4,687,828 — Total deaths: 155,062 — Total recoveries: 1,468,689 — Total tests: 56,812,162Map.
  3. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  4. Business: Virtual school is another setback for retail — The pandemic hasn't hampered health care.
  5. Public health: Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.

Filing suggests Manhattan DA is investigating Trump for possible fraud

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

The Manhattan District Attorney's office suggested for the first time Monday that it's investigating President Trump and his company for "alleged bank and insurance fraud," the New York Times first reported.

The state of play: The disclosure was made in a filing in federal court that seeks to force accounting firm Mazars USA to comply with a subpoena for eight years of Trump's personal and corporate tax returns.