What if There Were No Lenders; Nigeria’s External Debt Grows by 411% in 8years

Reveals there was a 226.47% increase in debt stock between 2014 and 2018


A study commissioned by ActionAid Nigeria has revealed that the country’s external debt stock increased by 410.9 per cent between 2012 and 2020, with the highest year-on-year growth recorded in 2017 at 65.82 per cent, followed by 35.16 per cent growth in 2013 and 33.63 per cent in 2018.

national debt

Presenting the report during a one-day National Dialogue on Nigeria’s Rising Debt Profile, convened by ActionAid Nigeria, with the theme: ‘The Rising Public Debt in Nigeria and the Challenges for National Development, the lead consultant of Centre for Social Justice, Eze Onyekpere, who led the team, said the country’s domestic debt component grew by 209.1per cent within the period of study.

“The highest year-on-year increase was recorded in 2013 with a 32.63 per cent growth, followed by 32.30 per cent in 2016 and 14.82 per cent in 2017. External debt stock grew more than the domestic debt stock during the study period”, he said.


Onyekpere noted that the Federal Government’s component of the external debt stock between 2014 and 2018 calculated in US dollar grew by 226.47 per cent, while the same amount calculated in the naira grew by 496.6 per cent.

“The states and FCT external debt stock calculated in USD grew by 29.5 per cent, while the calculation in naira resulted in a 136.7 per cent growth. The external debt component had risen to 31.82 per cent of overall debt as at end of 2018, while the domestic debt was 68.18 per cent of overall debt. Furthermore, Nigeria’s debt to GDP has been growing over the years and stood at 19 per cent by end 2018.”

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