The global economy has experienced four waves of debt accumulation over the past 50 years. [The first three ended with financial crises in many emerging and developing economies. The latest debt wave, since 2010, has already witnessed the largest, fastest and most broad-based increase in debt in these economies, according to the Global Waves of Debt report. total debt has risen by 54 percentage points of GDP to a historic peak of almost 170 percent of GDP in 2018. Current low interest rates reduce some of the risks associated with high debt. However, emerging and developing economies also face weak growth prospects, mounting vulnerabilities, and elevated global risks. A menu of policy options is available to reduce the likelihood of the current debt wave ending in crisis and, if crises were to take place, alleviate their impact.