Debt by Country

Debt by Country

When one looks at debt by country, it helps to give an idea of how well countries are doing or how much they are struggling.

External debt, also called “foreign debt” is the portion of total country debt that is owed to creditors outside of the country. The debt includes both principal and interest payments due.

The deficit is the difference between how much money the government takes in through taxes and how much it spends each year. Public debt is an accumulation of all the deficit, plus any other money the government spent that wasn’t part of the budget.

Debt is fundamentally necessary to the operation of a national government, but it can also be limiting and dangerous.

Failure to repay results in significantly higher borrowing costs.

If a country has high debt it may also limit policy options in terms of stimulating growth. Governments need to use debt responsibly or else it impacts long term growth potential.

A further look at debt by country:


114% of GDP


569% of GDP


222% of GDP


145% of GDP


3443% of GDP


124% of GDP


124% of GDP


316% of GDP


167% of GDP


408% of GDP


$5.317 million


$5.25 million


$699 298


$475 813

South Africa


For some emerging economies, getting into debt is the only way to raise funds. Government debt is issued in the domestic currency. Sovereign debt is issued in a foreign currency.

The debt of developing countries is often considered to carry a higher risk. This is why developing countries pay higher interest rates.

Investors have to consider the government’s stability, how the government plans to repay the debt and the possibility of the country going into default.

Some of the countries that issue debt do it in order to finance their growth.

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