A United Nations agency is offering what it calls a "conceptual
breakthrough" to uplift the world's poorest people. The U.N.
Industrial Development Organization contends selective
industrialization offers the best chance for smaller, developing
countries to achieve sustainable economic progress. But the backers of
the plan acknowledge the global economic crisis will make needed
investment difficult to attract.
Choosing the right products to
make for the global market is key, if low-income and slow-growing
countries want to break free of the poverty trap. That is the critical
point in the 2009 Industrial Development Report of the United Nations
Industrial Development Organization.
The U.N. agency is calling
for the World Trade Organization to give preference to exports from the
least developed manufacturing countries. It also wants developed
countries to liberalize trade rules to allow the poorest an opportunity
to create viable manufacturing export industries.
agency says such changes would benefit what it terms the "bottom
billion" - the people who are subsisting on less than one dollar a day.
But the UNIDO's South Asia representative, Philippe Scholtes,
acknowledges the gloomy international economic situation will make it
more difficult, in the next five to 10 years, for underdeveloped
countries to realize value-creating manufacturing hubs.
global crisis will certainly have an impact for these bottom billion,"
Scholtes said. "The emphasis on building up physical infrastructures,
human infrastructures and developing technological capabilities may be
put somewhat aside."
The U.N. agency is highlighting a number
of manufacturing clusters as potential templates for other countries to
create manufacturing export successes. These include Chennai India's
leather industry; the button-manufacturing cluster in Qiaotou in
China's Zhejiang Province; the automotive sector in Indonesia's
capital, Jakarta; and, the computer components hub of Otigba, Nigeria.
The U.N. report notes India's rapid export growth in the first
half of the decade made South Asia the fastest growing region in
manufactured exports, following by the Middle East and North Africa.
report was released Monday in New Delhi, London and other cities. The
UNIDO, headquartered in Vienna, is a specialized United Nations agency
mandated to promote industrial development and international industrial