South Africa: Government debt

* indicates monthly or quarterly data series
 South Africa

Government debt as percent of GDP

 Latest value 73.90
 Year 2023
 Measure percent
 Data availability 2000 - 2023
 Average 45.07
 Min - Max 26.51 - 73.90
 Source South African Reserve Bank
For that indicator, we provide data for South Africa from 2000 to 2023. The average value for South Africa during that period was 45.07 percent with a minimum of 26.51 percent in 2008 and a maximum of 73.9 percent in 2023. The latest value from 2023 is 73.9 percent. For comparison, the world average in 2023 based on 84 countries is 68.39 percent. See the global rankings for that indicator or use the country comparator to compare trends over time.
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* indicates monthly or quarterly data series


Recent values chart
South Africa - Government debt - Recent values chart

Historical chart
South Africa - Government debt - historical chart - 2000-2023




The government debt in South Africa and other countries is calculated as the total amount owed by the national government to domestic and international lenders. It is reported as percent of GDP so that we can evaluate its magnitude relative to the size of the economy.

Government debt of about 60 percent or less of GDP is not considered a problem. The government can make payments without strain and even has some room to borrow more. If debt levels reach 80-90 percent that may have negative effects on the economy. Debt above 120 percent of GDP is quite detrimental.
Definition: Debt is the entire stock of direct government fixed-term contractual obligations to others outstanding on a particular date. It includes domestic and foreign liabilities such as currency and money deposits, securities other than shares, and loans. It is the gross amount of government liabilities reduced by the amount of equity and financial derivatives held by the government. Because debt is a stock rather than a flow, it is measured as of a given date, usually the last day of the fiscal year.

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 Related indicators Latest value Reference Measure
 Government spending, percent of GDP 19.15 2022 percent
 Government spending, in dollars 74.45 2023 billion U.S. dollars
 Fiscal balance, percent of GDP -6.30 2019 percent
 Government debt 73.90 2023 percent
 Government expenditure 342.21 Q3/2023 billion
 Long-term government bond yield 12.06 9/2023 percent
 Tax revenue 25.85 2021 percent
 Commercial tax rate 29.20 2019 percent
 Tax preparation time 210 2019 hours
 Number of taxes 7 2019 taxes
 Taxes on goods and services 33.56 2021 percent
 Taxes on international trade 3.24 2021 percent
 Income and profits taxes 50.23 2021 percent
 Foreign aid 1,039.62 2021 million U.S. dollars
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