Ethiopian Business Review

Top 10 Countries with Highest Budget deficit, [2017] in Africa

Budget deficits remain a big worry for governments in the sub-Saharan Africa region. They have continued to widen, reaching a regional average of -5.6Pct of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the past year from -4.5Pct in 2016. Such developments have been attributed to the growth in disparity between government revenue and expenditure. Even the implementation of the budget cut policies by a few countries did not halt the pressure on revenues that failed to be balanced by expenditure cuts. In fact, soaring fiscal gaps have been the major contributor to rising debt levels in sub-Saharan Africa.


Ethiopia is no different. The budget deficit reached ETB54 billion in 2017 accounting for -4Pct of the GDP. According to the Regional Economic Outlook of the International Monetary Fund published two months ago, Ethiopia ranked 37th in terms of budget deficit amongst sub-Saharan African countries, while Liberia and Comoros lead the region with fiscal gaps of -20.5Pct and -17Pct of the GDP, respectively. The fiscal deficit is expected to be severe in oil exporting countries. Likewise, the deficit is projected to increase in Ethiopia, beyond four percent, in spite of various expenditure cutting measure undertaken by the government. An increase in budget deficit would expose countries to reliance on external and domestic borrowing and worsening debt service burdens.



Budget Deficit, excluding grants, as percentage of GDP

1 Liberia -20.5Pct
2 Comoros -17.0Pct
3 Sao Tome and Principe -16.8Pct
4 Eritrea -15.5Pct
5 Gambia, the Republic -15.0Pct
6 Niger -12.3Pct
7 Sierra Leone -11.7Pct
8 Burundi -11.2Pct
9 Burkina Faso -10.9Pct
10 Zimbabwe -9.8Pct

Source: Regional Economic Outlook Published by IMF in April 2018

6th Year . June 2018 . No.62

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