Global Sovereign Debt Monitor 2019
On 3 April 2019, Jubilee Germany / erlassjahr.de and the German development organisation Misereor published the Global Sovereign Debt Monitor 2019 and discussed its results and political implications with journalists and experts.
122 countries in the Global South critically in debt
Currently, 122 out of 154 countries examined are critically in debt, just under 80%. The situation is particularly alarming in Bhutan, Mongolia, Gambia, Cape Verde Islands, Jamaica, Bahrain and Lebanon. In almost three-quarters of the 122 critically indebted countries, the majority of debt indicators has worsened over the last years. Currently, 17 countries have suspended their payments.
However, this alarming debt crisis in the Global South is not very present in the German media. That is why the editors were pleased to welcome about 40 interested journalists and experts who had come to discuss the Global Sovereign Debt Monitor and its political recommendations on 3 April 2019 with Christoph Trebesch from the Kieler Institut für Weltwirtschaft, Jürgen Kaiser from Jubilee Germany / erlassjahr.de and the head of department and chief economist at the Federal Ministry of Finance Jakob von Weizsäcker. Von Weizsäcker stepped in at short notice for State Secretary Wolfgang Schmidt who had fallen ill.
Low interest rates in the Global North – curse or a blessing?
Von Weizsäcker emphasised that he almost entirely agreed with the results of the Global Sovereign Debt Monitor. He only disagreed with the statement that the low interest rates in the Global North were the trigger of the crisis. In his point of view, they were “good news for the South”. After all, low interest rates would mean that countries could refinance their debts cheaply. Kaiser objected that this precisely would be he danger.
Rising interest rates could lead to unsustainable debt levels for many countries. The implementation of the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and urgently needed measures against climate change would be even harder achieve in the foreseeable future.
The Global Sovereign Debt Monitor 2019 is an extract from Schuldenreport 2019 published in German in April 2019 by erlassjahr.de / Jubilee Germany and Misereor. It is the English translation of the main article of the German Schuldenreport 2019 written by erlassjahr.de / Jubilee Germany coordinatior Jürgen Kaiser.
The Monitor provides a detailed analysis of the debt situation of the countries in the Global South and describes the main drivers for this crisis.
Currently, 122 out of 154 countries examined are critically in debt, just under 80%. The report illustrates the three dimensions of debt in a world map: