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The Associated Press May 9, 2012, 2:36PM ET

Group: Jamaica swamped by interest on debt

A Washington-based think tank says Jamaica's interest payments as a percent of gross domestic product was the highest in the world last year.

A new report on Jamaica's economy by the Center for Economic and Policy Research says the heavily-indebted country's total interest payments were about $1.4 billion in 2011, or about 10 percent of GDP.

Economist and center co-director Mark Weisbrot said by email on Wednesday that it's the highest percentage anywhere in the world.

The group says the burden of high interest payments will continue to displace public investments "needed to restore normal growth and bring down the persistently high levels of poverty and unemployment."

Servicing the debt takes up roughly half of Jamaica's budget.

Jamaica is trying to forge a new pact with International Monetary Fund.


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