News / Africa

Study: Poorest Countries Must Diversify to Break Out of Poverty Cycle

A woman shops in a well-stocked food shop in Bujumbura, Burundi (File)
A woman shops in a well-stocked food shop in Bujumbura, Burundi (File)

A new United Nations study argues the Least Developed Countries must diversify and modernize their economies to achieve development and break out of their poverty trap.   The UN Conference on Trade and Development's 2010 Least Developed Countries report says LDC's are stuck in old ways of doing things and this is preventing them from moving their economies forward.  

The report says the world's 49 poorest countries have done a fair job of weathering the global downturn.  But, it says they are still trapped in the so-called boom-bust cycles, which have long plagued their economies.  

The report says the Least Developed Countries must develop their abilities to produce an increasing range of higher value-added goods and services through expanding investment and innovation.  

Otherwise, it warns they will have difficulty achieving substantial and lasting poverty reduction.  UNCTAD Secretary-General, Supachai Panitchpakdi, says LDCs are too heavily dependent on exports of primary commodities and low-value-added manufactures.  

"LDC's have shown positive trends in the trade activities.  But, it is mainly driven by commodities and mainly oil and gas and all these primary commodities. They have not been able to benefit from any global trends to wean themselves away from increasing dependence on commodities,"  said Panitchpakdi.

Supachai says there has been very little diversification into manufacturing activities.  He says only the LDCs in Asia have been relatively successful in diversifying their economies.

New poverty figures estimate the number of people in extreme poverty has increased by three million per year during the boom years of 2002 and 2007.  In 2007, the figures show more than 420 million people were living in poverty, that is twice as many as in 1980.                                                            

UNCTAD economists note the focus of support for LDCs is mainly in the area of trade.  They say this must change and greater emphasis must be put on helping the poor countries expand other areas of economic interest.

The report argues the need for more and new forms of financial assistance to support the LDCs domestic activities.  It says technology and commodities, as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation also should be given priority.

The main author of the report, Zeljko Kozul-Wright, says globalization has not treated everyone well or equally.  She says the LDC's have been on the losers' side.

Kozul-Wright says the LDC's must break free of their dependence on trade in exports because business as usual will not deliver growth.

"We also believe that South-South linkages offer significant growth opportunities for all developing countries, including LDCs through free trade and investment flows.  And, indeed, one of the reasons for the resilience of LDCs to the shock owes something to the growth of these linkages in recent years, and it is particularly strong in Asia," she said.

The report says LDCs face a difficult medium-term outlook.  It says low investment levels and weak financial development continue to pose serious concerns.  

Therefore, it says the world's poorest countries will depend largely on the speed of economic recovery in the rest of the world and on increased support from international donors.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid