By Jonathan Davies

The world is drowning under too much debt', the chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management in Europe has warned.

Andrew Wilson, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) says growing debt and an ageing population present the biggest threats to the global economy.

"There is too much debt and this represents a risk to economies. Consequently, there is a clear need to generate growth to work that debt off but, as demographics change, new ways of thinking at a policy level are required to do this," he said.

Pointing to Japan, where national debt is more than 200% of GDP, Mr Wilson explained: "The [age] demographics in most major economies — including the US, in Europe and Japan - are a major issue — and present us with the question of how we are going to pay down the huge debt burden. With life expectancy increasing rapidly, we no longer have the young, working populations required to sustain a debt-driven economic model in the same way as we've managed to do in the past."

The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has raised serious concerns over the state of Japan's debt, warning that it could reach 400% of GDP by 2040.

OECD secretary general Angel Gurria has said that stronger economic growth and monetary stimulus would not be enough to reduce or even curb Japan's huge debt.

"Japan's future prospects depend on ensuring fiscal sustainability over the long term. With a budget deficit of around 8pc of GDP, the debt ratio is set to rise further into uncharted territory," he said.