The Least Developed Countries Report 1999

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As the twentieth century drew to a close, it became clear that the least developed countries (LDCs) had generally failed to derive appropriate benefits from the ongoing processes of liberalization and globalization. This report examines the recent economic developments and outlook in the LDCs; reviews development finance, external debt and investment; assesses the programme of action for the LDCs for the 1990s; and discusses marginalization, productive capacities and the LDCs. Satistical charts and graphs are also included.



Globalization and options for developing niche exports in LDCs

In the context of trade liberalization and globalization, new trading opportunities are expected to arise for the benefit of all countries. Yet many poor countries face difficulties in identifying such opportunities and taking advantage of them. The risk of increased marginalization from the global economy is generally high for LDCs, because they often have weak supply capacities and a limited ability to utilize new economic opportunities and enhance their export potential. Indeed, the most serious economic consequences of the structural handicaps suffered by LDCs in general are the difficulties these countries face in achieving economic progress through viable specialization, or diversification, in response to new trading opportunities. The few LDCs that have enjoyed relatively stable growth as a result of successful specialization are a number of small States with prosperous tourism activities, and some larger countries that have developed manufacturing supply capacities and have become fairly competitive in niche markets.


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