10 most indebted nations
What do Malawi, Ethiopia and Mozambique have in common? Well, they’re dirt poor but their finances are in tiptop shape. They know how to balance their budgets and prudently live within their meagre means. And Japan, the US and Ireland? Filthy rich, but drowning in debt.
It used to be that emerging countries like Argentina, Mexico and Russia struggled with unsustainable debt. Those days are gone and investors, who are increasingly turning to developing nations as safer options, are taking note.
It’s preposterous, but true, that most of the richest countries in the world are also the most indebted.
The shame list
The United States of America has more debt than any other country in history ($14.3-trillion), but when taking into account their gargantuan economy (debt as a percentage of GDP) they come in at seventh (99 percent of GDP). The dubious honour of being the most indebted nation on the planet belongs to Japan with a frightening debt load of $13.8-trillion or 234 percent of GDP.
In second place is tax dodging Greece with a debt-to-GDP ratio of about 139 percent. Italy (debt-to-GDP 125 percent) is third followed by Iceland (124 percent), Belgium (101 percent), Ireland (100 percent) and the US. In eighth place is Canada (89 percent) followed by France with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 88 percent and Portugal at 84 percent.
Japan (debt-to-GDP ratio: 234 percent)
Greece (debt-to-GDP ratio: 139 percent)
Italy (debt-to-GDP ratio: 125 percent)
Iceland (debt-to-GDP ratio: 124 percent)
Belgium (debt-to-GDP ratio: 101 percent)
Ireland (debt-to-GDP ratio: 100 percent)
United States of America (debt-to-GDP ratio: 99 percent)
Canada (debt-to-GDP ratio: 89 percent)
France (debt-to-GDP ratio: 88 percent)
Portugal (debt-to-GDP ratio: 84 percent)
*South Africa has a debt-to-GDP ratio of 33 percent which makes us the 88th most indebted nation in the world.