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 Schuldenbom voor ontwikkelingslanden infographic
Graphic charts debt as a percentage of GDP in frontier markets.


Ontwikkelingslanden verdrinken in $3,5 biljoen aan schulden

By Ninian Carter

December 13, 2023 - Many countries face a growing debt crisis after years of borrowing, with a substantial number owing more in debt repayments than their entire annual output.

Countries in the developing world, known as “frontier markets” in financial parlance, are facing a growing debt crisis after years of borrowing catches up with them.

The countries have small domestic markets and must turn to international lenders for cash to build infrastructure like roads, schools and hospitals – cash they were encouraged to borrow a decade ago by institutions such as Citigroup.

Now, after a series of global financial shocks brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a global spike in inflation and interest rates, the total debt of all 42 frontier markets has now reached $3.5 trillion – double what it was 10 years ago.

In order to stay solvent, many poorer governments are being forced to cut spending as debt repayments increase, with around half of the world’s ­population (3.3 billion people) living in countries that spend more on debt payments than on education and health care – which in turn can lead to political upheaval, such as that seen in Gabon earlier this year.

PUBLISHED: 13/12/2023; STORY: Graphic News