The Least Developed Countries Report 2000

Aid, Private Capital Flows and External Debt - The Challenge of Financing Development in the LDCs

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What the world's poorest countries need most is not simply debt relief, but a 'New Deal' in international development cooperation, contends UNCTAD in its Least Developed Countries 2000 Report. Almost two thirds of the 48 least developed countries (LDCs) have an external debt burden, which is unsustainable according to international criteria. The report also states that past efforts to substantially decrease their debt service payments have failed, and recent attempts to finally resolve the debt problem through the Heavily Indebt Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative are not very promising. The LDCs also looks at economic growth and social trends in the LDCs in the 1990s, financing development, and ways in which new approaches to partnerships can increase the effectiveness of aid.



Economic growth and social trends in the 1990s

The real GDP of the LDCs as a group grew by 3.2 percent per annum during 1990-1998, as against 3.4 per cent for the low- and middle-income countries as a whole and 2.5 per cent for the world (table 1). This was a minor improvement over the economic performance in the 1980s. Moreover, the gap between the LDC growth rate and the growth rate of other developing countries also narrow'ed in the 1990s.


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