It seems we are all debtors in a world where governments borrow on behalf of the citizens. Latest figures from the International Monetary Fund IMF reveals that the world debt has hit an all-time record of $184 trillion, an upward review from the $182 trillion it reported just last week. By implication, an average of $86,000 debt owed per person, according to a statement by Ting Yan, Press Officer at IMF, on ‘Global Debt Database Update’. The question is who will pay for the debt load especially, among African countries, whose debt profile continue to rise?
This is bad news for African businesses. Of course, governments will have to service this huge debt burden by passing it to individual businesses as creditors take the lion share of the commonwealth. Update of "the GDD offers for the first time a glimpse of global debt developments up to 2017," the IMF report claims.
“By including both the sovereign and private sides of borrowing for the entire world, the GDD offers an unprecedented picture of global debt in the post-World War II era”.
Global debt has now reached an all-time high of $184 trillion in nominal terms or the equivalent of 225 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 2017, according to the report.
The $184 trillion is $2 trillion higher than the estimated number released during Fiscal Monitor press conference in October 2018, because it includes end-2017 data and the debts of several countries who had not previously reported their updated data.
“On average, the world’s debt now exceeds $86,000 per person – more than two and half times the average income per-capita. Where some African countries owe as much as over 100 percent of the GDP, there's a feeling of perpetual economic slavery and a continuous dwarfed development and growth. High debt profile sniffs out life from local industries as governments succumb to pressure from creditors. Here's a percentage of debt to GDP owed by some African countries.
|Country||Percent of debt to GDP|
|Republic of Congo||117.7|
“The top three borrowers in the world (United States, China, and Japan) account for more than half of global debt, exceeding their share of global output,” the IMF stated. It is even more worrisome that African countries are stepping up the debt momentum.
The Fund had put the global debt at $182 trillion on December 1, warning highly indebted emerging-markets and low-income countries against what it termed pro-cyclical fiscal policies. African countries will have to stop borrowing in the meantime, focus more on empowering its people who will be able to drive innovative, industrial growth. The only problem is the politics of business or as it were, the business of politics, where the elites play into the hands of miners of our Commonwealth with the help of the enemies within and opportunists.
IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, disclosed the figure in a statement issued at the conclusion of the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit in Buenos Aires.
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