UN Lists 33 African Nations among World’s 46 Least Developed Countries

•Asia has nine countries, Caribbean one, Pacific three

Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The United Nations (UN) has listed no fewer than 33 of Africa’s 54 nations among the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in 2023.

According to the just-released ‘Least Developed Countries Report 2023’ published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Angola, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau are LDCs from the African continent.

Others are Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda,  Tanzania and Zambia.

Nine LDCs from the Asian continent were Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Timor-Leste and Yemen.

Haiti is the only LDC from the Caribbean while Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu were listed as LDCs from the Pacific.

The list of LDCs is reviewed every three years by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP), a group of independent experts that reports to the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

 Following a triennial review of the list, the CDP may recommend, in its report to ECOSOC, countries for addition to the list or graduation from LDC status.

The next triennial review is scheduled to take place in March 2024.

The CDP is bound to apply the criteria and the thresholds for inclusion into the LDC category and for graduation from the category as: “An income criterion, based on a three-year average estimate of the gross national income (GNI) per capita in United States dollars.

“The threshold for inclusion is $1,088 or below; the threshold for graduation is $1,306 or above.

“A human assets index (HAI), consisting of two sub-indices: a health sub-index and an education sub-index.

“An economic and environmental vulnerability index (EVI), consisting of two sub-indices, including an economic vulnerability sub-index and an environmental vulnerability sub-index.

“The Least Developed Countries Report 2023 highlights that the 46 countries have very high external financing needs as they pursue sustainable development, adding that these needs have become even larger due to the emergence of multiple global crises.

“At the same time, the international financial environment cannot provide least developed countries with the financing they need in the required amount and with appropriate conditions. Its reform is unavoidable,” the report stated.

UNCTAD with a membership of 195 countries is the UN’s leading institution dealing with trade and development. It is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964.

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