Global debt burden

WEF president warns about global debt levels

Borge Brende, the president of the World Economic Forum (WEF), recently issued a stark warning about global debt levels.

Speaking at the ‘Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development‘ in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, (see WEF website), he highlighted that global debt ratios are approaching levels not seen since the 1820s.

The WEF president also reportedly emphasized the risk of ‘stagflation‘ for advanced economies. He cautioned that without appropriate economic measures, the world could face a decade of low growth.

The current global growth estimate stands at around 3.2%, down from the 4% trend growth seen for decades. Brende urged governments to address the mounting debt situation and implement prudent fiscal measures to avoid triggering a global recession. 

He also noted the persistence of inflationary pressures and suggested that generative artificial intelligence could offer opportunities for developing nations. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) concurs with this concern, reporting that global public debt reached 93% of GDP last year, still 9% higher than pre-pandemic levels. 

The IMF projects that global public debt could approach 100% of GDP by the end of the decade.

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