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Arrears in Sub-Saharan Africa: Paying Bills on Time Matters

November 1, 2019

Arrears can negatively impact schools and hospitals and undermine the effectiveness of social policy. (iStock by Getty images/epicurean)

The dramatic drop in commodity prices in 2014 has had lingering effects in sub-Saharan Africa. One such effect is a growing backlog of payments by governments to service providers, known as arrears. But despite the prevalence of arrears in the region, their causes and consequences are not well understood. The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa looks at the economic and social impact of increasing arrears in recent years. In this podcast, IMF economists Samuel Delepierre and David Stenzel say domestic arrears can undermine private sector activity and citizens’ trust in the government.

Samuel Delepierre and David Stenzel are both economists in the IMF’s African Department