Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Josephine Ojiambo announced a new project to provide support to some of the Commonwealth’s poorest members as they graduate from the UN’s list of Least Developed Countries (LDC), at Marlborough House on November 22, 2017
Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Josephine Ojiambo announced a new project to provide support to some of the Commonwealth’s poorest members as they graduate from the UN’s list of Least Developed Countries (LDC), at Marlborough House on November 22, 2017.
The UNCTAD Kickstarter Project was unveiled at the launch of the UN’s latest report, `The Least Developed Countries Report 2017: Transformational Energy Access’.
It aims to address shortcomings in the international support system and ensure graduating countries are sufficiently prepared for a more sustainable transition trajectory.
The project will support countries by establishing thorough trade impact assessments and effective debt management policies during their transition from public to private finance, with a particular focus on infrastructure and energy.
The Secretariat has also contributed to a scoping exercise undertaken by the United Nations Committee for Development Policy, which is developing an online platform, embedded within national Ministries, to guide their transition from LDC status.
Furthermore, the Secretariat has collaborated with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to research the relationship between aid for trade resource sectors and the likelihood of graduation.
Research from the UNCTAD report shows that electricity access remains a main issue for all LDCs, affecting innovation, economic development and manufacturing capacity.
A country’s status as LDC is determined by three factors, extreme poverty, economic vulnerability and limited human resources.
Since the category was established in 1971, only five countries have graduated: Botswana, Samoa, Maldives, Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde.
The Commonwealth Secretariat has questioned the benefits of graduating from LDC status as those countries then no longer receive international support measures like tariff preferences, which could cause a decline in competitiveness compared to other nations due to increased cost of trade.
It is estimated Vanuatu will have graduated by 2020, with other Commonwealth countries Bangladesh, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Tanzania, Vanuatu and Zambia still holding their LDC status.
The Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General said: “With 13 Commonwealth countries included on this latest report, the need for our support, guidance and advice is critical to ensure their economic development.
“The project launched today will go some way to ensure the appalling run rate of one country graduating on average every 10 years is significantly improved.”
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