Supporting growth in LDCs requires both financial resources and progress towards addressing institutional deficiencies and security concerns, says DESA’s World Economic and Social Prospects 2018

The last decade has been punctuated by a series of broad-based economic crises and negative shocks, starting with the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, followed by the European sovereign debt crisis of 2010–2012 and the global commodity price realignments of 2014–2016.

As these crises and the persistent headwinds that accompanied them subside, the world economy has strengthened, offering greater scope to reorient policy towards longer-term issues that hold back progress along the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. In 2017, global economic growth is estimated to have reached 3.0 per cent, a significant acceleration compared to growth of just 2.4 per cent in 2016, and the highest rate of global growth recorded since 2011.

Notwithstanding, very few of the least developed countries (LDCs) are expected to reach the Sustainable Development Goal target for GDP growth of “at least 7 per cent” in the near term. Approaching this target will require higher levels of investment in many LDCs. Mobilizing necessary financial resources may be approached through various combinations of domestic and international, public and private sources of finance.

More rapid progress in many of the LDCs is hindered by institutional deficiencies, inadequate basic infrastructure, high levels of exposure to weather-related shocks and natural disasters, as well as challenges related to security and political uncertainty. These barriers must be addressed to ensure that available finance is channeled efficiently towards productive investment.

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