World Bank issues new MENA debt figures

15 March 2002

Total external debt for Middle East and North Africa countries was $160,223 million in 2000, according to figures compiled in the World Bank 2002 Global Development Finance report. Total regional debt servicing was $19,031 million and interest payments totalled $6,183 million.

The report shows Egypt as having the highest debt of the Middle East and North Africa, with total debt stock of $28,957 million in 2000. However, at $22,965 million, the present value of Egypt's debt is substantially lower reflecting the impact of the Paris Club restructuring in 1991. The Paris Club factor, together with the high proportion of concessionary debt, is also reflected in the low level of Egypt's debt service and interest payments in relation to the debt, and at only 9 per cent the country has one of the lowest debt/service ratios of the region. The same does not hold true for Algeria, which has the region's second-highest debt of $25,002 million and the second-highest debt service ratio of the region, 27 per cent. Fellow North African countries Morocco and Mauritania each have a debt service ratio of 26 per cent.

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