Top 23 countries by their Debt to GDP Ratios

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Top 23 countries by their Debt to GDP Ratios


Here are the top 23 countries by their Debt to GDP Ratios.

Twenty-five nations are examined here with the highest debt-to-GDP ratios in the world. Our breakdown of which countries have the highest debt to GDP ratios is optional.

For a full understanding of Debt to GDP Ratios and how they are calculated go to Veri Knowledge

World Wide Debt Freeze

The current global debt level of $300 trillion represents a leverage of 349% on GDP, an all-time high. Publicly held federal debts have also increased dramatically, with the CBO projecting that they will equal 128 percent of GDP by 2033. Reducing the debt burden in the face of rising inflation and sluggish economic growth, as reported by CNBC, will be extremely painful for economies. Meanwhile, interest rates have increased due to the strong US dollar, making it even more costly to raise capital and repay debts. There will be a continuing gap between mandatory spending, rising costs,  revenue, and economic growth. Consequently, dozens of economies will be forced into default, and the situation is even worse in many others.

Government debt has skyrocketed to levels not seen in decades, and the 2020 global pandemic is largely to blame. The year 2021 did aid in a growth rebound, with advanced economies expanding by 5.3% and the global economy expanding by 5.9%, but these increases were temporary. Overcorrection in post-lockdown stimulus packages contributed to soaring inflation, which in turn prompted economies to tighten their monetary policies once more, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine has had an impact on commodity markets, which has further weighed on the global economy. As a result, the rate of global economic expansion will slow to 2.9% in 2022.

In this light, it's not all bad news that inflation hit a 27-year high of 9.6 percent in October 2022. More than 70% of advanced economies will see a decline in government debt between 2020 and 2022 as a result of strong growth and high inflation. With the exception of China, Russia, and Ukraine, 60% of EMDEs saw a reduction in government debt. According to Brookings, advanced economies' government debts have been reduced by 6 percentage points of GDP due to inflation, with economic growth accounting for half of this effect. Debt levels in developed economies are falling steadily, but inflation must be contained, growth must be stimulated, and debt relief must be provided all while maintaining these trends.

Reducing debt levels during the growth recovery in Debt-Distress Territories hasn't been as kind to low-income economies as it has to the rest of the world. In order to repay rich nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, poor nations must sacrifice a great deal (IMF). Therefore, at least 25% of middle-income countries and over 60% of low-income countries face the possibility of debt distress. The international economy rarely sees developing countries in such debt distress as a threat because they eventually pay off their debts. This worrying trend should be viewed through the lens of the major social catastrophe from which the poor people in such areas suffer.

The external debt service costs for developing countries over the next 5 years could be as high as $2.5 trillion. The poor within these countries will be hit the hardest, as they will be forced to cut back on necessities like food and healthcare spending to make interest payments. The economy will be further thrown into a debt shock as inflation rises, food and energy import prices spike, and natural disasters increase in frequency.

Sri Lanka is the first Asia-Pacific country to default in 2022. Economists and world leaders are urging Sri Lanka's lenders to forgive the country's $52 billion in external debt as of December 2022. The terms of the $2.9 billion bailout with the IMF require that the island's debt be reduced to a level where it can be paid off.

Ukraine, a country ravaged by civil war, is also in dire financial straits and will need around $750 billion to rebuild. Pakistan is another country with massive debt and liabilities. As a result of soaring inflation, dwindling foreign reserves, a falling currency, and a severe balance of payments crisis, the country's external debt has increased by 38%. Since the government has not been meeting IMF conditions regarding guarantees of external financing, a bailout package has not yet been agreed upon by the IMF. Meanwhile, the Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Grenada, Zimbabwe, and Zambia are among the world's poorest countries with a debt crisis. Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Dominica, Ghana, etc. are at a similarly high risk.


We used data from Trading Economics to rank the 25 countries based on their total debt as a percentage of GDP. Then, the countries with the highest debt-to-GDP ratios were ranked highest to lowest.

The top 23 countries by debt-to-GDP ratio are as follows:

No.23 Mozambique

Mozambique's debt to GDP is 101% as of 2017.

According to estimates, Mozambique's debt is equivalent to about 101% of the country's GDP, or about $16 billion. Since 2016, the debt-to-GDP ratio has been above 100%, but reductions in the debt load have been predicted. This fall is being fuelled by a number of factors, including the country's burgeoning economy, rising debt revenues, and the rising value of its currency, the Metical.

No.22 Belgium

Belgium's debt to gross domestic product is currently at 105%, ranking it 22nd worst in the world.

The debt to gross domestic product ratio in Belgium is currently at around 105%, with the debt level at around $617 billion. As a result of the energy crisis, the government has had to spend more money than expected, and future increases in debt are expected. The epidemic marked the beginning of trouble for the government's coffers, and by 2023, the debt is projected to have ballooned to 5.8 percent of GDP.

No.21 France

At 112% of GDP, France is in serious debt.

At $3.1 trillion, France's debt is among the highest of any country. Its debt to GDP ratio is 112%; this is largely due to the country's persistent primary budget deficits. The ratio of debt to GDP has been rising alongside the slow economic growth. French fiscal policy has been noticeably less proactive than that of other countries in addressing rising debt levels.

No.20 Spain

Spain's debt to GDP is currently at 113%.

Spain has a debt to GDP ratio of 113%, meaning its national debt is equivalent to about $1.6 trillion. As a result of prudent fiscal policy and robust economic growth, this ratio is now 95%, down from 118% in 2022.

No.19 Canada

113% Debt-to-GDP Ratio

Canada's national debt increased from $1 trillion in 2007/2008 to $1.4 trillion in 2022, with provincial and federal debt totaling $2.1 trillion. Large deficit spending by the government due to the pandemic is a major factor in this increase.

No.18 Sri Lanka

Debt to GDP in Sri Lanka is 114% as of Year 2018

With a debt to GDP ratio of 114%, Sri Lanka's debt levels are consistently near $116 billion. In April of 2022, the nation declared default, exemplifying the all-too-familiar debt trap. High-interest borrowing from global capital markets is to blame for the country's current predicament. The country went into default as its currency reserves were depleted by the interest payments on its borrowings.

No.17 Portugal

Debt to GDP in Portugal is 114% as of 2017.

Portugal's high debt-to-GDP ratio is largely the result of the country's slow economic growth and stagnant productivity. However, tourism helped boost economic activity early in 2023. The economic outlook of the country will improve soon as a result of ongoing investments and the launch of tenders.

No.16 Cuba

Cuban Debt as a Percentage of GDP = 117%

Cuba's economy has suffered alongside those of other countries hit hard by the pandemic. During this time, international tourism plummeted, further weakening an already struggling economy. Declining foreign income was mirrored by rising financial strains within communities of emigrants.

No.15 Bahrain

119 % Debt to Gross Domestic Product in Bahrain

The high debt-to-GDP ratio in Bahrain is the result of excessive government spending, slowing economic growth, and falling oil prices. In 2024, the government anticipates realising budget savings of about 5% of GDP, largely as a result of an increase in VAT driving up non-oil revenues.

No.14 Zambia

Debt in relation to GDP in Zambia is 123%

Western banks' careless lending has contributed significantly to Zambia's high debt-to-GDP ratio. Borrowing by the British government to combat climate change has exacerbated the country's financial woes. Negotiations are going to be crucial for the country as it tries to restructure its growing debt. Therefore, the IMF has approved a $1.3 billion bailout plan with stringent measures for the people of Zambia to adhere to.

No.13 Suriname

Suriname's debt is 124% of its GDP.

With a debt to GDP ratio of 124%, Suriname is approximately $4 billion in the red. The country's economy has been poorly managed for a long time, resulting in external and fiscal imbalances. The result has been a sharp increase in inflation and a significant drop in the value of the currency's exchange rate. Overall, the country's current level of debt is unsustainable.

No.12 Bhutan

Twelve percent of Bhutan's GDP is owed in debt.

Bhutan's high debt-to-GDP ratio is largely attributable to the country's reliance on revenue from hydropower exports.

No.11 United States of America

The U.S. Debt to GDP Ratio is 129%

For a long time now, the United States has also had to deal with a debt load that exceeded its GDP. In January, the national debt passed the $31 trillion mark, bringing the debt-to-GDP ratio to around 129%. But in order to keep borrowing, the US regularly requests an increase in the debt ceiling. The high debt-to-GDP ratio is the result of declining revenues, government funding of war, and numerous tax cuts.

No.10 Cap-Verde

Ratio of Debt to GDP is 130%

As of the year 2023, Cape Verde's national debt is $3.05 billion. Since 11% of its oil and 8% of its cereals come from Russia, the debt to GDP ratio of 130% is largely attributable to the pandemic, the prolonged drought, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Future expansion is anticipated to be led by the service sector and renewable energy.

No.9 Italy

Italy's Debt as a Percent of GDP is 145%

Despite having a large current account surplus, Italy's public debt is extremely high at around 145% of GDP. About 45% of the stock is held by non-Italian investors, while the rest is held by wealthy Italian savers. The Italian government owed nearly $3 trillion in 2023. Given the government's support and the diversion of natural gas supplies from Russia, the economy is expected to show some resilience.

No.8 Libya

8 % of Libya's GDP is owed in debt, making it a high-debt country.

The ratio of public debt to GDP in Libya has risen to alarming heights, currently sitting at 155%. The economy is expected to expand by 4.4% in 2023, so the outlook is bright. Increased income from oil sales is a major factor in this. Many families are still living below the poverty line and going hungry because of mounting debt.

No.7 Singapore

Singapore's debt is 160% of its GDP.

The current debt level in Singapore is $560 billion, or about 160% of GDP. Debt in the form of savings bonds and other Singaporean government securities that are not actively being spent is manageable from a budgetary perspective. The country has strong assets and no net debt because of the prudent use of borrowed funds for investment.

No.6 Eritrea

The debt to GDP ratio in Eritrea is 164%

Eritrea's high debt-to-GDP ratio is the result of years of political instability, a lack of access to international markets, and economic sanctions. The high ratio will also remain a long-term result of persistent budget deficits funded by debt. However, sales are beginning to pick up speed as a result of the increased demand for metals around the world. Eritrea's total external debt was $744,742,728 in 2021.

No.5 Greece

Greece's Debt to GDP is 171% (5th in Europe)

When compared to GDP, Greece's national debt is among the highest in the world. As a result of structural economic weaknesses and a lack of flexibility in their monetary policy, the country's debt to GDP ratio has been steadily worsening since the financial crisis of 2008. Primary balances have improved in recent years, and debt to GDP is expected to drop to 140% by 2024.

No.4 Lebanon

GDP Debt Ratio in Lebanon is 172%.

Half of Lebanon's revenues are used up by interest payments, which has crippled the country's public finances. The country's financial woes have been exacerbated by high interest rates, wage increases in the public sector in 2017, and the price tag for post-war reconstruction.

No.3 Sudan

GDP Debt Ratio for Sudan is 182%.

The Sudanese economy has been plunged into crisis due to years of conflict, poor economic policies, and international sanctions. But in 2021, thanks to its successful implementation of economic reform, Sudan was granted debt relief by the IMF and the World Bank. The Sudanese people will benefit from higher living standards, less poverty, and brighter economic prospects as a result of this debt relief.

No.2 Venezuela

Debt to GDP in Venezuela is 241%.

At an estimated $150 billion, Venezuela's external public debt crisis ranks among the worst in the world. Political corruption, business failures, high unemployment, human rights violations, excessive reliance on imported oil, and persistent food and medicine shortages are major contributors to the current predicament. The country's oil production fell by 2.5% in 2022, and it has been heavily dependent on this commodity. This ratio has gotten worse as the economy as a whole has shrunk by three-quarters due to underinvestment in other areas.

No.1 Japan

First, Japan has an extremely high debt-to-GDP ratio, at 264%.

Japan has accumulated roughly $9.8 trillion in debt due to rising social welfare costs in the midst of an ageing population, large spending packages, and a contracting labor force. This massive debt is held primarily by the central bank and domestic savers, and is denominated almost entirely in the country's own currency. Only 7% is owned by non-Americans. As a result, it's not like the country needs the charity of other nations.

South Africa ranked 114th out of 192 countries

As of December 2022, South Africa's debt to GDP ratio is 71.0%. This means that for every $100 of GDP, the government owes $71.0 in debt. This is higher than the average debt to GDP ratio for all countries in the world, which is 64.3%. However, it is lower than the debt to GDP ratios of many other countries, such as Japan (256.8%), Italy (156.8%), and the United States (136.2%).

In terms of where South Africa ranks in the world in terms of debt to GDP, it is currently ranked 114th out of 192 countries. This means that there are 78 countries with a higher debt to GDP ratio than South Africa.

The government of South Africa has taken steps to reduce the country's debt burden, such as increasing taxes and cutting spending. However, it is likely that the debt to GDP ratio will remain high for some time to come, as South Africa is still recovering from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some of the factors that have contributed to South Africa's high debt to GDP ratio:


  • The country's high unemployment rate, which has led to a decline in tax revenue.
  • The country's large informal economy, which makes it difficult to collect taxes.
  • The country's aging population, which will put a strain on government spending on pensions and healthcare.
  • The country's high level of corruption, which has led to a waste of public funds.


The government of South Africa is aware of the need to reduce the country's debt to GDP ratio. However, it is a difficult task, and it will take time to achieve.

Mauritius ranked 106th out of 192 countries

Mauritius's current debt to GDP ratio is 73.4% as of December 2022. This means that for every $100 of GDP, the government owes $73.4 in debt. This is higher than the average debt to GDP ratio for all countries in the world, which is 64.3%. However, it is lower than the debt to GDP ratios of many other countries, such as Japan (256.8%), Italy (156.8%), and the United States (136.2%).

In terms of where Mauritius ranks in the world in terms of debt to GDP, it is currently ranked 106th out of 192 countries. This means that there are 86 countries with a higher debt to GDP ratio than Mauritius.

The government of Mauritius has taken steps to reduce the country's debt burden, such as increasing taxes and cutting spending. However, it is likely that the debt to GDP ratio will remain high for some time to come, as Mauritius is still recovering from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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