The Least Developed Countries Report 2012

Harnessing Remittances and Diaspora Knowledge for Productive Capacities

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This Report reviews the LDCs' recent economic performance and examines how to enhance developmental impact of remittances and tap into the knowledge pool of its citizens abroad. Given the increasing magnitude of remittances in LDCs, the Report explores both the beneficial as well as possible adverse impacts of this type of private external flow. While remittances are the most visible effect of migration, there are other forms of Diaspora engagement within the home country such as Diaspora knowledge networks that can facilitate technological catch-up in LDCs and therefore enhance development of productive capacities. Through innovative forms of network-based industrial policy, LDCs could offset some of the adverse impacts of brain drain on their economies. The Report concludes with a policy review section containing lessons from international experiences in this area of interest to LDCs.

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The uncertain global economic recovery and the worsening Eurozone crisis continue to undermine those factors that enabled the least developed countries (LDCs) as a group to attain higher growth rates between 2002 and 2008. Despite seeing real gross domestic product (GDP) grow slightly faster in 2010, the group as a whole performed less favourably in 2011, signalling challenges ahead. Indeed, with the world’s attention focused on Europe, there is a danger that the international community may lose sight of the fact that in recent years, LDCs have been most affected by financial crises caused by other countries. With less diversified economies, LDCs have neither the reserves nor the resources needed to cushion their economies and adjust easily to negative shocks. Furthermore, if another global downturn hurts the growth prospects of emerging economies, LDCs, as major commodity exporters, will be directly affected. Therefore, LDCs require increased external assistance to better protect their economies against external shocks and help them manage volatility.

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