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The Least Developed Countries Report 2002

Escaping the Poverty Trap

image of The Least Developed Countries Report 2002

The Least Developed Countries Report 2002 is in two parts. The first part reviews recent economic trends and assesses the progress in the 1990s towards fulfillment of development targets contained in the Programme of Action adopted by the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries. The second part, on escaping the poverty trap, is the first analysis of poverty in all the LDCs. It is based on a new set of poverty estimates for LDCs that suggest that extreme poverty may have been under-estimated in the poorest countries, particularly in Africa, and over-estimated in other countries. The Report examines the reasons why extreme poverty is pervasive and persistent in most LDCs, and the implications for the design of poverty reduction strategies and international policy. An important discovery of the Report is the close link between primary commodity dependence and extreme poverty.

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The nature and dynamics of poverty in the least developed countries

This Part of the Report examines the relationship between poverty and development in the LDCs in the context of increasing global interdependence. The nature and dynamics of poverty in the LDCs have never been analysed in an international comparative perspective. The poverty statistics that are required in order to do this have hitherto been so limited in their coverage that international comparisons amongst the LDCs, and between LDCs and other countries, have been impossible. This chapter outlines the approach that the Report adopts to defining and measuring poverty, and describes the nature and dynamics of poverty in the LDCs. The analysis is founded upon a new data set of poverty estimates for LDCs that has been specially constructed for this Report. These estimates are not only relevant for the LDCs, but also have important implications for the global map of poverty and international commitments to reduce extreme poverty.

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