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Low-Income Country Debt Now Closing In on a Trillion Dollars, Activists Blame G20 States For Ignoring the Problem

Outside of the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. Daniel SLIM / AFP

Borrowing among the world’s poorest countries jumped 12% last year pushing up the total amount owed to a record $860 billion, according to a new report released on Tuesday by the World Bank

Not surprisingly, World Bank economists blame the pandemic and the economic disruptions brought on by COVID for the increase in borrowing. But they said that, regardless of the reason, the record borrowing has made a number of low-income countries extremely vulnerable. “Policymakers need to prepare for the possibility of debt distress when financial market conditions turn less benign, particularly in emerging market and developing economies,” said Carmen Reinhart, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank Group.

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