News

UN: Economic Slowdown Threatens World's Poorest Countries

The U.N. Conference on Trade and Development warns the global economic slowdown threatens to undercut the modest progress achieved by the world's poorest countries during the past few years.  A new report by UNCTAD finds the 50 least developed countries are particularly vulnerable because of their dependence on selling a few commodities.  Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from the launch of the report in Geneva.

A new report finds the values of exports of the world's 50 poorest nations climbed by a collective 80 percent between 2004 and 2006.  Their highest rate of economic growth in 30 years.

But, the report notes this strong growth performance is uneven and just a handful of oil and mineral exporting countries account for 76 percent of growth.  They include Angola, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, East Timor and Yemen.

UNCTAD Secretary-General, Supachai Panitchpakdi, says the Least Developed Countries, the LCDs, are increasingly dependent on selling a few unsophisticated products.  And, this, he says, will create problems as the global economy slows down and demand for their primary commodities lessens.  

"We are concerned with the sustainability of economic growth.  We are concerned with that.  This is because the way the economic integration of the LDC's into the global economy is making them mostly vulnerable to external shocks," he said.

The LDC's main exports include petroleum, low technology manufactures, minerals, ores, metals, and farm goods.  The report warns these countries will continue to go through so-called boom and bust cycles unless they diversify what they produce and sell on world markets.  

The report says these countries must increase manufacturing, improve their use of science and technology, and find greater sources of domestic investment rather than depending on official foreign aid.

Despite the high rate of economic progress, the report says the total number of poor people in the LDCs continues to increase.   It says three-fourths of those living in these nations continue to survive on less than $2 a day and nearly 280 million people live on less than $1 a day.  

Supachai says Asian countries are making greater inroads in reducing poverty than are African countries.

"The extreme poverty in terms of number, there are still more than 200 million living in African LDCs, 70 million in Asian LDCs and one million in island LDCs," he said.  "So it seems that poverty incidence is still highest in those countries who are commodity exporters depending on petroleum, mineral and agriculture products for the majority of their export."   

The report argues the poorest countries can alleviate poverty if they export the right kinds of products.  It says despite their recent record export performance, LDCs remain marginalized in the global economy.
 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs