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Least developed countries review economic progress

Least developed countries meet to prepare for a review of economic progress

Nearly 80 representatives from Africa’s 34 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are attending a regional meeting in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to prepare for a global mid-term review of their 10-year poverty reduction programme.

The year 2006 was a crucial point for that programme, the UN Envoy for LDCs, Anwarul K. Chowdhury noted. “We are midway through its 10-year timeframe and now have the challenge to review and reflect,” he said at the opening ceremony of the two-day preparatory conference to review the 2001 Brussels Programme of Action for the decade 2001-2010.

Mr. Chowdhury pointed out that between 2001 and 2005 general macroeconomic conditions have improved in most African LDCs, with significant growth spurts in those that are exporters, of oil in particular. In addition, governance had improved in many countries in recent years.

However, landlocked African LDCs continue to face particular challenges in terms of infrastructure and access to markets, and conflict continues to fuel poverty in a number of States. Dependency on primary commodities remains a challenge to be overcome by most of Africa’s LDCs, he added.

Also speaking at the opening session was Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa and the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Kim Hak-Su.

The Brussels Programme of Action outlines measures to be taken by both industrialized nations and the LDCs themselves to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development.

The programme includes specific commitments on good governance, enhancing the role of trade in development, reducing vulnerability to natural disasters, protecting the environment, mobilizing financial resources, and speedy implementation of steps to reduce the debt burden on poor countries.

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