Economic diversification in Asian LLDCs

Prospects and challenges

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This report on Economic Diversification of Asian LLDCs: Challenges and Prospects will address economic diversification and its impact on structural transformation, building productive capacities, job creation and enhancing competitiveness of LLDCs in Asia. The primary objective of the report is to discuss the prospects and challenges for economic diversification in Asian LLDCs. The panel will discuss examples of concrete opportunities for economic diversification in these countries that would contribute to structural transformation, building productive capacities and job creation. The panel will also discuss the challenges posed by high and volatile commodity prices, which create incentives away from diversification. The 12 Asian landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) share the common challenge of remoteness and isolation from international markets, without direct access to trade by sea, which increases substantially their trade costs. Higher costs reduce the competitiveness of the Asian LLDCs and hinder their ability to harness trade to promote their economic growth and structural transformation. They also create incentives to these countries to specialize in high bulk primary commodities with relative inelastic demand to the trade costs.




This report was prepared under the general direction and guidance of Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and under the substantive direction of Aynul Hasan, Officer-in-Charge, a.i., and Syed Nuruzzaman, Chief of Countries with Special Needs Section, of the Macroeconomic Policy and Development Division. The report was prepared by Clovis Freire, Economic Affairs Officer, Macroeconomic Policy and Development Division. Other contributions from the Division came from Zheng Jian, who provided substantive inputs, and Alberto Isgut, Daniel Jeongdae Lee, Marin Yari, Naylin Oo, Oliver Paddison, Shuvojit Banerjee, Steve Gui-Diby, Sudip Basu and Vatcharin Sirimaneetham, who provided valuable advice and comments. Achara Jantarasaengaram, Pannipa Ongwisedpaiboon, Patchara Arunsuwannakorn, and Sutinee Yeamkitpibul provided research assistance. Arpaporn Chomcherngpat undertook all administrative processing necessary for the issuance of the publication. The manuscript was edited by Kim Atkinson.


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