Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Foreign Debt, Dependency, and Economic Growth in South Asia

Many developing countries are following a policy to attract foreign capital through loans and other means to enhance investment. The inflow of these resources is seen as an addition to investment for accelerating economic growth. However, there are only a few success stories where such resources have made any significant contribution to improve the economic conditions of recipient country.1 Pakistan and other South Asian countries have received significant amount of foreign loans2 but its role is critical [Chaudhary and Ali (1993, 1996)]. In spite of increasing foreign aid, South Asia has emerged one of the poorest and illiterate regions of the world, having more than 500 million poor living below poverty line and about 46 percent of the world’s illiterate live in the South Asia [UNDP/MHHDC*(1997)]. This is the region, which has 22 percent of the world’s population, while having only 1.3 percent of the world’s income. It also appears one of the most indebted regions of the world [Anwar (1995)]. In spite of a significant inflow of foreign aid, the economic conditions remained poor in this region. Such a situation calls for an in depth analysis of the contribution of foreign aid. Therefore, this paper is focused to analyse the role and implications of international debt in South Asia. Besides, South Asia’s dependency upon foreign debt is also analysed.3 In addition, tendency of resources outflow from South Asia to other countries, in terms of debt services, is also identified.

Sabahat Anwar, Mohammad Aslam Chaudhary