Les emprunteurs de subprimes d’Afrique subsaharienne

NEW YORK – Ces dernières années, de plus en plus de gouvernements africains se sont mis à émettre des eurobonds, se diversifiant par rapport aux sources de financement traditionnelles de type dette concessionnelle et investissements directs à l’étranger. Prenant les devants en octobre 2007, en décidant à l’époque d’émettre un eurobond de 750 millions $ à un taux d’intérêt nominal de 8,5%, le Ghana s’est démarqué comme le premier État subsaharien – si l’on écarte l’Afrique du Sud – à émettre des obligations sur une période de 30 ans.

Cette première initiative subsaharienne d’émission de telles obligations, plus de quatre fois sursouscrites, a déclenché une frénésie d’emprunts souverains dans la région. Neuf autres États – Gabon, République démocratique du Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Sénégal, Angola, Nigeria, Namibie, Zambie, and Tanzanie – ont emboîté le pas au Ghana. Dès février 2013, ces dix économies africaines avaient collectivement levé 8,1 milliards $ à partir de leurs toutes jeunes émissions d’obligations souveraines, leur échéance moyenne s’élevant à 11,2 ans, et leur taux d’intérêt nominal à 6,2%. La dette extérieure de ces États présentait en revanche un taux d’intérêt moyen d’1,6%, accompagné d’une échéance moyenne de 28,7 ans.

Nul n’ignore que les obligations souveraines emportent un coût d’emprunt significativement plus élevé que celui de la dette concessionnelle. Pourquoi alors de plus en plus de pays en voie de développement recourent-ils aux émissions d’obligations souveraines ? Et pourquoi les prêteurs se sont-ils soudainement pris d’attirance pour ces États ?

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