Growth of Least Developed Countries "positive but not equally shared"

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Severely malnourished children from the neighbouring refugee camps are transferred to the in-patient therapeutic feeding centre of Batouri, Cameroon. The centre had only 12 beds before the CAR crisis. Photo: WFP/Sylvain Cherkaoui

The general economic growth of the least developed countries or LDCs in the past five years has been positive but the challenge is it's not equally shared by all.

That's according to Gyan Chandra Acharya, the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries and the Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).

He briefed the press ahead of a conference in Turkey's capital Istanbul on 27 May to review the progress made by these countries.

Jocelyne Sambira has more.

Some of these Least Developed Countries or LDCs have witnessed a 4 per cent growth rate in 2012 that has since gone up by 5.3 per cent, Mr Acharya said.

The category of LDCs was officially established in 1971 by the UN General Assembly in order to attract special international support for the "most vulnerable and disadvantaged members" of the UN family.

The current list includes 48 countries, 34 in Africa,13 in Asia and in the Pacific and 1 in Latin America.

Human development, access to internet and telephone networks, the reduction of child and maternal mortality rates are other areas where progress has been made.

Under-Secretary-General Acharya says there are also many challenges.

"Almost half of the population is still [living] below the poverty line in these countries, lack of jobs and economic opportunities are still big bottlenecks, progress is volatile, you see growth rate growing but is not sustained over time, and many of them are facing conflict and also going to the post-conflict situation."

The conference is taking place at a midpoint of a 2011 Istanbul Plan of Action, which charts the international community's vision and strategy for the sustainable development of LDCs for the next decade.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’18”


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