Egypt’s debt ratio to be the highest across emerging markets, developing economies in 2023: IMF

Doaa A.Moneim , Wednesday 11 Oct 2023

Egypt’s gross debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to be 92.7 percent in 2023, the highest among the emerging markets and the middle-income economies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday.

IMF HQ in Washington. Official Website.


This is the highest it has been since 2017,, reaching nearly 98 percent.

In its flagship Fiscal Monitor Report, the IMF expects Egypt’s gross debt level to decline to 88.1 percent in 2024 and 76.4 percent in 2028.

Moreover, the report projects Egypt’s net debt as the highest among the emerging markets and the middle-income economies in 2023 at 88 percent of GDP. They also projected it to rise to 88.4 percent in 2024 before declining to 71.8 percent in 2028.

On the other hand, the report expects expenditures to fall to 22.8 percent of GDP in 2023, its lowest level since 2014, down from 24.7 percent in 2022.

Yet, the report predicts that expenditures will rise again in 2024 and 2025 to hit 28.9 percent and 29.4 percent, respectively.

The report also projects revenues among the lowest across emerging markets and developing economies. It is expected to hit 18.1 percent of GDP for 2023 and 2024, the lowest since 2014.

The report projects Egypt’s primary balance to be the highest in nine years in 2023, hitting 2.3 percent of GDP in 2023 before declining in 2023-2027 and bouncing back to 2.3 percent in 2028.

The primary balance is the difference between the government’s revenues and public goods and services spending.

On a broader level, the report expects Egypt’s overall balance to improve to -4.6 percent in 2023 from -5.8 percent recorded in 2022. The overall balance is the difference between the government’s revenues and spending.

Egypt is racing time to fulfil its commitments under the $3 billion four-year loan programme the IMF approved for the country in December 2022. Egypt is also engaged in a medium-term debt management strategy with the IMF that aims to bring down the country's debt to below 80 percent starting in 2027.

On Tuesday, the IMF raised its projections for Egypt’s real GDP growth in 2023 to 4.2 percent, up from the 3.7 percent expected in July.

“For all countries, it is becoming hard to balance public finances. The difficulties originate in an ever-growing demand for public spending, associated with high expectations about what the state can and should do elevated debts, and high-for-long interest rates and political red lines on taxes,” said Vitor Gaspar, the director of the Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF.

According to the report, global debt is projected to increase by about one percent of GDP per year over the medium term. But, excluding the two largest economies – the US and China – the ratio would decline by about a half percent annually.

In addition, the report projected the global public debt ratio to approach 100 percent of GDP by the end of the decade.

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