"Egypt's sovereign balance sheet (including low FX reserves) and external accounts worsened dramatically since the start of the Arab Spring in early 2011 and are very fragile," Slim Feriani, executive chairman of Advance Emerging Capital, told CNBC last week.
One concern is the county's reliance on economic aid from its neighbors in the Gulf—and what could happen if that flow dried up. To date, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates have pledged over $18 billion in direct loans, fuel subsidies, and grants to the Egyptian government, with billions more being invested from the private sector in residential housing and commercial real estate.
"Egypt's risk of balance of payment crisis and sovereign default are huge if it were 'left on its own' without 'artificial short-term external help'," Feriani told CNBC.
The lower-middle income country in sub-Saharan Africa sought assistance from the IMF earlier in August, in a dramatic U-turn for the government, who only days before had said it wasn't considering a loan.
The move did not surprise currency traders however, who had watched the Ghanaian cedi tank nearly 60 percent against the U.S. dollar this year—following a 20 percent decline in 2013.
Moody's downgraded Ghana's sovereign rating by one notch from B1 to B2 with a negative outlook in June, citing its high and rising debt burden. It forecast Ghanaian public debt will exceed 65 percent of GDP by end-2015, up from 55.7 percent last year.