Public debt as percentage of GDP: 234
Population: 12 million
The African nation's financial woes aren't breaking news, since they trace back much farther than the beginning of the recent global economic recession. Following years of economic decline that began in earnest in the 1990s, Zimbabwe now has the largest debt-to-GDP ratio in the world. In fact, the government quit recognizing it as legal tender in 2009 due to hyperinflation, rendering the Zimbabwean dollar virtually worthless [source: UPI].
Despite numbers that might indicate otherwise, Zimbabwe appears to be on the road toward financial recovery. In 2010, the nation experienced 5.9 percent economic growth [source: CIA]. However, it seems that much work remains to rectify Zimbabwe's legacy of political and social instability, warfare and unemployment.