Measures to improve economies of poorest nations focus of UN-led forum

27 October 2010 – Participants at a United Nations-led meeting that opened in Geneva today are examining ways to improve the economies of the world’s poorest nations, and to help them promote job creation and reduce poverty.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has brought together delegates to deliberate on building productive capacities in the world’s 49 so-called Least Developed Countries (LDCs), a theme that reflects the agency’s policy advice that poverty is best addressed through broad economic progress.

The three-day meeting in Geneva is one in a series of preparatory events organized by various UN agencies to generate ideas and momentum ahead of the Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), to be held in Turkey from 30 May to 3 June next year.

According to UNCTAD economists, the impact of the global recession on LDCs has made the need for balanced economic growth more essential than ever. The size of the LDC grouping has doubled since 1997 partly due to missed opportunities to improve economic specialization, make sufficient infrastructural investment, and develop science and technology capacities.

Delegates at the Geneva event will examine how focusing on developing productive capacities affects national policies intended to promote development and poverty reduction in LDCs, as well as the impact on the design of international support measures for the poor countries by their development partners.

They will also review government policies and international technical and financial assistance measures that can help LDCs modernize their economies, strengthen institutional capacities, improve benefit from global trade in goods and services, and make use of science, technology and innovation for economic development.

Focus will also be on measures aimed at attracting increased domestic and foreign investment which would lead to job creation and higher value goods and services. That in turn would raise salaries and domestic consumer spending, spurring greater economic demand and generating even more jobs.

LDCs are plagued by high levels of poverty, poor health and nutrition for citizens, and economies that are heavily dependent on basic agriculture and export of basic commodities and raw materials.

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