22. March 2021

Out now: Global Sovereign Debt Monitor 2021

GSDM-2021-coverThe coronavirus pandemic has further exacerbated the debt crisis in the Global South. Countries with low to middle incomes, whose economies were already unstable, are the most affected of all by the effects of recession, and their debt servicing ability has been substantially weakened.

Download the full report here.

At a glance:

  • Indebtedness worldwide: 132 out of 148 countries surveyed in the Global South are critically indebted. This represents the addition of eight countries to the list reported in our Global Sovereign Debt Monitor 2020.
  • New on the list are small island states such as Fiji, and Trinidad & Tobago. However, the inclusion of Chile, Thailand and the Philippines means that three larger emerging economies also feature.
  • 21 countries are currently in partial default. However, as a result of the recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, further countries also face imminent sovereign default.
  • At the beginning of the pandemic, the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and the debt relief enabled by the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) created much-needed fiscal scope in the poorest countries. This allowed time to set up comprehensive debt relief measures.
  • A debt moratorium is however not an appropriate tool for dealing with debt distress, since it merely postpones payment obligations into the future.
  • Moreover, limiting the moratorium to the poorest countries has meant that, on the one hand, relief has been offered to some countries that did not want it, while on the other hand, a number of highly indebted countries have had support withheld, even though they urgently need it.


And then came the virus: How the pandemic is deepening the global debt crisis
Foreword by Pirmin Spiegel and Linda Rebmann

Indebted countries worldwide
by Jürgen Kaiser and Kristina Rehbein

Germany as a creditor of the Global South
by Elise Kopper

Debt restructuring in times of corona: Group-based, coordinated – but ultimately purely symbolic?
by Malina Stutz

Fighting debt with yet more debt?
a conversation with Wolfgang Schmidt (German Ministry of Finance) and Patricia Miranda (LATINDADD)

Individual debt restructuring in 2020: The need for more than just a moratorium
by Andrés Musacchio

Shattered hopes: Lebanon’s never-ending crisis
an Interview with Michel Constantin (CNEWA/PM)

Participation by the private sector in the DSSI debt moratorium: A farce
by Jürgen Kaiser