The UN says global public debt hit a record $97 trillion in 2023. Developing countries are hard hit


The United Nations is reporting that global public debt rose to a record $97 trillion last year, with developing countries owing roughly one-third of that – crimping their ability to pay for basic government services like health care, education and cli…

GENEVA — The United Nations said Tuesday that global public debt rose to a record $97 trillion last year, with developing countries owing roughly one-third of that — crimping their ability to pay for basic government services like health care, education and climate action.

U.N. Trade and Development, formerly known as UNCTAD, said the value of money owed by governments rose by $5.6 trillion from 2022.

In a report released Tuesday, the agency said that high interest payments are outstripping growth in essential public spending.

In the developing world, which is home to 3.3 billion people, 1 in 3 countries spends more on paying interest than on programs in “critical areas for human development” such as health care, education and climate action.

In 2023, public debt in developing countries hit $29 trillion, or about 30% of the total worldwide – an increase from a 16% share in 2010, the U.N. office said.

“Developing countries must not be forced to choose between servicing their debt or serving their people,” said the “A World of Debt” report. “The international financial architecture must change to ensure a prosperous future for both people and the planet.”



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