What is Nigeria's actual debt to China?

According to the most recent official data available, Nigeria's public debt was N32.9 trillion, or $86.3 billion, as of December 2020. According to the country's debt management office, this is the case.

This debt consisted of the following items:

The federal government has a total external debt of N12.7 trillion ($33.3 billion).
Domestic debt totals N20.2 trillion ($53 billion), including bank loans. The federal government owes N16 trillion ($42 billion) of this total, with the rest made up of loans from state governments and the national capital territory.

The Export-Import Bank of China was owed 9.7% of the external debt, or N1.2 trillion ($3.3 billion). This is a government-owned and funded bank that promotes China's international trade and investment.

China accounted for 80.1 per cent of the mutual borrowing, or $4.1 billion. The term "bilateral debt" refers to debt owed by one country to another. France, Japan, India, and Germany are among the nations that have lent to Nigeria.

The African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund owed $17.9 billion in multilateral debt.


China’s loans are concessional, meaning they come with more favourable terms than market loans.

According to the debt office, the money would be used to finance eleven programmes. Water supply, electricity, and railways are among them airport terminals, communications, and agricultural processing.

Nigeria has agreed to a total of $5.6 billion in loans from China. Beijing, on the other hand, had disbursed $3.3 billion as of March 2020. Nigeria was still servicing the loans, which totalled $3.1 billion at the time.

The first of these funding agreements were signed in 2010, and the most recent one was signed in May of this year. They all have a 2.5 per cent annual interest rate, a seven-year grace period, and a maturity period of around 20 years.

The first loan will be paid off in September 2030, and the last loan will be paid off in March 2038.

According to official estimates, Nigeria’s debt to China increased by 136% between September 2015 and September 2020, from $1.4 billion to $3.3 billion. Buhari began his first term in office in May 2015.

External debt increased from $10.6 billion to $32 billion over that period.

The nation would not default on its debts, according to the debt management agency.

“In its annual budgets, Nigeria expressly pays for debt service on both foreign and domestic debts. This ensures that debt service is accepted and payment is expected, according to a 2020 statement from the office.

“Also, a majority of the loans-financed projects are either revenue-generating or have the potential to be revenue-generating.”

In a February 2021 interview, Oniha of the debt office said that the country’s debt service to revenue ratio could be “much higher.” “However, let us be clear: there has been no default, whether of local or foreign debt, so far.”

Nigeria invested $195.5 million in 2020 to pay off its debt to China, accounting for around 12.6% of the $1.6 billion it spent servicing its external debt.

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

About me