Is Africa a Net Creditor? New Estimates of Capital Flight from Severely Indebted Sub-Saharan African Countries, 1970-1996

This paper presents estimates of capital flight from 25 low-income sub-Saharan African countries in the period 1970 to 1996. Capital flight totaled more than $193 billion (in 1996 dollars); with imputed interest earnings, the accumulated stock of flight capital amounts to $285 billion. The combined external debt of these countries stood at $178 billion in 1996. Taking capital flight as a measure of private external assets, and calculating net external assets as private external assets minus public external debts, sub-Saharan Africa thus appears to be a net creditor vis-

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