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Ranked: The Top 20 Countries in Debt to China

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See this visualization first on the Voronoi app.

Chart showing the top countries by their amount of debt to China

Ranked: The Top 20 Countries in Debt to China

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

In this graphic, we ranked the top 20 countries by their amount of debt to China. These figures are as of 2022, and come from the World Bank (accessed via Yahoo Finance).

The data used to make this graphic can be found in the table below.

CountryTotal external debt to China ($B)
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฐ Pakistan$26.6
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ด Angola$21.0
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Sri Lanka$8.9
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡น Ethiopia$6.8
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ช Kenya$6.7
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฉ Bangladesh$6.1
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Zambia$6.1
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Laos$5.3
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ Egypt$5.2
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Nigeria$4.3
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡จ Ecuador$4.1
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ Cambodia$4.0
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Cรดte d'Ivoire$3.9
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พ Belarus$3.9
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Cameroon$3.8
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brazil$3.4
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Republic of the Congo$3.4
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa$3.4
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ณ Mongolia$3.0
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Argentina$2.9

This dataset highlights Pakistan and Angola as having the largest debts to China by a wide margin. Both countries have taken billions in loans from China for various infrastructure and energy projects.

Critically, both countries have also struggled to manage their debt burdens. In February 2024, China extended the maturity of a $2 billion loan to Pakistan.

Soon after in March 2024, Angola negotiated a lower monthly debt payment with its biggest Chinese creditor, China Development Bank (CDB).

Could China be in Trouble?

China has provided developing countries with over $1 trillion in committed funding through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive economic development project aimed at enhancing trade between China and countries across Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Many believe that this lending spree could be an issue in the near future.

According to a 2023 report by AidData, 80% of these loans involve countries in financial distress, raising concerns about whether participating nations will ever be able to repay their debts.

While China claims the BRI is a driver of global development, critics in the West have long warned that the BRI employs debt-trap diplomacy, a tactic where one country uses loans to gain influence over another.

Editor’s note: The debt shown in this visualization focuses only on direct external debt, and does not include publicly-traded, liquid, debt securities like bonds. Furthermore, it’s worth noting the World Bank data excludes some countries with data accuracy or reporting issues, such as Venezuela.

Learn More About Debt from Visual Capitalist

If you enjoyed this post, check out our breakdown of $97 trillion in global government debt.

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Top 10 Countries Most in Debt to the IMF

Argentina tops the ranking, with a debt equivalent to 5.3% of the country’s GDP.

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Bar chart showing the 10 countries most in debt to the IMF.

Top 10 Countries Most in Debt to the IMF

This was originally posted on ourย Voronoi app. Download the app for free onย iOSย orย Androidย and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Established in 1944, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) supports countries’ economic growth by providing financial aid and guidance on policies to enhance stability, productivity, and job opportunities.

Countries seek loans from the IMF to address economic crises, stabilize their currencies, implement structural reforms, and alleviate balance of payments difficulties.

In this graphic, we visualize the 10 countries most indebted to the fund.

Methodology

We compiled this ranking using the International Monetary Fund’s data on Total IMF Credit Outstanding. We selected the latest debt data for each country, accurate as of April 29, 2024.

Argentina Tops the Rank

Argentina’s debt to the IMF is equivalent to 5.3% of the country’s GDP. In total, the country owns more than $32 billion.

CountryIMF Credit Outstanding ($B)GDP ($B, 2024)IMF Debt as % of GDP
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Argentina32604.35.3
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ Egypt11347.63.1
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Ukraine9188.94.7
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฐ Pakistan7374.71.8
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡จ Ecuador6121.64.9
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด Colombia3386.10.8
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ด Angola392.13.2
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ช Kenya3104.02.8
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ญ Ghana275.22.6
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Ivory Coast286.92.3

A G20 member and major grain exporter, the country’s history of debt trouble dates back to the late 1890s when it defaulted after contracting debts to modernize the capital, Buenos Aires. It has already been bailed out over 20 times in the last six decades by the IMF.

Five of the 10 most indebted countries are in Africa, while three are in South America.

The only European country on our list, Ukraine has relied on international support amidst the conflict with Russia. It is estimated that Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country caused the loss of a third of the country’s economy. The country owes $9 billion to the IMF.

In total, almost 100 countries owe money to the IMF, and the grand total of all of these debts is $111 billion. The above countries (top 10) account for about 69% of these debts.

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