Firms’ debt choice in Africa: Are institutional infrastructure and non-traditional determinants important?

AGRODEP Author: 
Authors: 
Tendai Gwatidzo and Kalu Ojah 
Publisher: 
Elsevier 

We use a World Bank survey data on the financing of incremental production to examine firms’ debt choice decision in eleven African countries, where capital markets are evolving and/or fraught with inadequate institutional infrastructure. Such a landscape suggests that hitherto overlooked nontraditional factors and institutions may be important determinants of debt choice. Interestingly, we find that some nontraditional factors and institutional infrastructure are robust debt choice determinants. Education level of managers, national incidence of corruption and ethnicity of owners are important for non-bank debt choice in Africa, with non-bank debt markets populated largely by the less formal trade credit and lease markets. Both effective legal and political infrastructures foster firms’ preference for non-bank debt while macro-instability discourages preference for non-bank debt; thus, flagging institutional infrastructures as vital for effective non-bank debt markets. Furthermore, we find evidence which confirms that capital markets in Africa are insufficiently spanned by the necessary debt markets; this should motivate relevant authorities to hasten development of public debt markets to supplement the currently limiting non-bank debt markets of trade credits and leases.

Source / Citation: 

Gwatidzo, Tendai and Kalu Ojah. January 2014. "Firms’ debt choice in Africa: Are institutional infrastructure and non-traditional determinants important?" International Review of Financial Analysis, 31(c), pp. 152-166.