As countries continue to battle COVID-19, massive fiscal stimulus packages have helped save lives and protect livelihoods in many economies.

However, they have come with a hefty price tag, with the world's general government debt projected to reach nearly 100% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. The fiscal policies that provided essential support in the shortterm may have implications for countries' longterm recovery including their ability to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Generating both public and private investments will be therefore crucial in financing the SDGs and delivering development results.

Countries around the world are piling on record levels of debt as COVID-19-related costs increased global debt by $19.5 trillion in 2020, the Institute of International Finance estimates.

More borrowing is foreseen as countries scramble to finance their COVID-19 vaccination programs as well as their social protection initiatives amid prolonged lockdowns in certain countries.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 4 2021, of The Himalayan Times.