Yearbook of the United Nations 1991

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The principal reference work of the United Nations providing a comprehensive, one-volume account of the Organization’s work along with information on the work of each specialized agency in the United Nations’ family.



International trade, finance and transport

Although changes in the world economy had brought prosperity to many parts of the world, the position of most of the developing countries had been deteriorating for some time, the Secretary-General stated in his 1991 report on the work of the United Nations. World trade had increased fairly rapidly but not so the exports and imports of developing countries. Foreign direct investment flows had quadrupled in the 1980s but the share of developing countries had fallen sharply. As a result of the debt crisis, the indebted countries as a whole were suffering a net outflow of resources. The external debt of capital-importing countries, which was less than $600 billion in 1988, had reached $1.2 trillion. Income per capita had declined in many parts of the world during the preceding decade. All that had fed the forces leading to violent strife; it had exacerbated health and ecological problems; it had alarmingly increased the ranks of the poor and the displaced. More than 1 billion people lived in absolute poverty.


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