The Least Developed Countries Report 2009

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The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are a group of countries that have been classified by the United Nations as least developed in terms of their low GDP per capita, their weak human assets and their high degree of economic vulnerability. This Report argues that the impact of the global economic crisis is likely to be so severe in LDCs that “business as usual” is no longer possible. The crisis offers the necessity and opportunity for change. The Report sketches out a concrete, alternative economic strategy and a fresh agenda for LDC policymakers, which includes institutional capacity-building and the strengthening of the market-complementing developmental State.

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Introduction - The implications of the global economic crisis for LDCs

The current economic crisis is the result of weaknesses in the neoliberal thinking that has shaped global economic policies in the last three decades; weaknesses that have been magnified by policy failures and lax regulation in the advanced countries. The cost in terms of the bailouts and recapitalization of banks has already reached unprecedented levels. However, the adverse impact on the real economy and the cost in terms of lost output and employment are now the great concerns. Most advanced economies are in recession and emerging markets have slowed. But the major victims of this contagion are likely to be the least developed countries (LDCs), many of which are still suffering the adverse impact of recent energy and food crises (UNCTAD, 2008a) and have the least capacity to cope with yet another major external shock.

English French, Spanish

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