Overall, Cameroon’s public debt is under control during the period under review, but the large stock of foreign currency borrowings exposes the country to exchange rate risk. Statistics show that it cost Yaounde 573 billion FCFA in 2022, hence the importance of favoring loans in local currency.
On a monthly basis, this increase is noticeable through the two components of the public debt that are the external debt (8,052 billion against 7,985 billion FCFA in August) and the internal debt (3,571 billion FCFA against 3,471 billion at the end of August). As for the debt/GDP ratio, it is at 43.9 %, which is very much below the 70 % threshold in force in the Cemac.
Taken globally, the evolution of the public debt is the result of accumulation of budget deficits of the Cameroonian state over the years. External debt represents 70.4 % of the overall portfolio, which, according to the CAA, is equivalent to a real exposure to currency risk of 42.9 % of the portfolio, taking into account the debt denominated in euros, which represents 27.5 % of the total debt. We recall that in September 2022, the CAA had indicated that Cameroon’s debt had jumped by 573 billion in a year, because the euro, the currency to which the FCFA is pegged, had lost 19 % of its value against the dollar. “Due to this depreciation, the stock of external public debt has recorded an increase of 245 billion FCFA monthly, 480 billion FCFA quarterly, and 573 billion FCFA over a year,” said Richard Evina Obam, then Director General of the CAA.
Moreover, the debt service, which includes the repayment of the principal and the payment of the interest due on the debt, amounted to 896.1 billion FCFA at the end of September, of which 76.7 % of repayment of the principal and 23.3 % of repayment of interest and commissions.