Header and navigation menu

Page content

Hidden Debt Hurts Economies. Better Disclosure Laws Can Help Ease the Pain

If efforts to address record global public debt are to leave no stone unturned, then weak disclosure laws warrant deep scrutiny. Hidden debt is borrowing for which a government is liable, but which is not disclosed to its citizens or to other creditors. And while this debt—by its nature—is often kept off the official government balance-sheet, it is very real, reaching $1 trillion globally by some estimates.

While these undisclosed obligations are not large when compared to global public debt topping $91 trillion, they pose a growing threat to low-income countries, already highly in debt with annual refinancing needs that have tripled in recent years. The problem is even more pressing amid higher interest rates and weaker economic growth. Accountability, too, is imperiled without accurate information about the extent of borrowing, which heightens the risk of corruption. […]