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The Least Developed Countries Report 1997

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Intended for a broad readership of governments, policy makers, researchers and all those involved with the least developed countries (LDCs) and development policy, this in-depth Report examines economic developments in the LDCs during 1996 and discusses prospects for 1997. It's coverage also includes an examination of: LDCs' external debt; recent economic reforms and performance; agricultural developments and policy reforms; and economies in regress. A statistical annex of basic data is also included.

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Agricultural development in LDCs

Agriculture is the most important economic activity in LDCs. In the early 1990s this sector provided about a third of the gross domestic product (GDP) of all LDCs, and employed more than two-thirds of the labour force. However, agricultural production has not kept pace with population growth in LDCs: in 1990-1994 agriculture had an annual average growth rate of 2 per cent, which was far less than the annual average population growth rate of almost 3 per cent. Food imports and food aid have thus been significant in meeting the shortfall between domestic agricultural production and food requirements in many LDCs. In 1990-1993, LDCs’ food imports averaged 3.6 per cent of GDP, increasing to almost 5 per cent over the same period for African LDCs, which form the bulk of the LDC group (UNCTAD, 1996).

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