Debt Build-up in Frontier Low-Income Developing Countries (LIDCs) since 2012: Global or Country-specific Factors and Way Forward?


Constance de Soyres ; Anna Rogantini Picco ; Randa Sab

Publication Date:

February 22, 2019

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Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.


This paper focuses on the debt build-up that frontier low-income developing countries (LIDCs) have faced since 2012. First, it documents a 20-percentage point increase in the external and government debt-to-GDP ratios, a composition shift toward higher non-concessional debt, and a rise in interest rate payments. Second, using panel regressions, it shows that while both global and country-specific factors are correlated with debt-to-GDP ratios over 1998–2016, global factors dominate for the period 2012–16. Third, through a small open-economy model, it shows that the projected tightening in global financial conditions would reduce debt-to-GDP ratios by less than the increase associated with the expected rise in investment.


Working Paper No. 2019/037



Publication Date:

February 22, 2019



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