The level of public debt in Arab countries reached $375 billion last year, the head of the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) said Monday.
The high level of indebtedness was largely due to some governments setting up economic projects "which it is beyond their means to finance", Jassem Al-Mannai told a conference on public debt in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi.
The figure included $156 billion in foreign debt.
Mannai said domestic debt among members of the Arab League was $219 billion, or 41 percent of their global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
For Lebanon the percentage rose to 103 percent of GDP but for Mauritania it was only eight percent.
However external debt represents 58 percent of GDP for 13 indebted Arab countries. Mauritania's external debt accounts for 163 percent of GDP while Jordan's for only 20 percent.
The conference was organized by the Abu Dhabi-based AMF, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)