What are the least developed countries?

The UNCTAD report states that 46 countries are among the least developed countries, most of which are concentrated in Africa (33), Asia (9), the Pacific (3) and the Caribbean (1).

The economies of 46 countries in the world match the list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for 2022 by the United Nations. Of this total, 33 are in Africa, 9 in Asia, 3 in the Pacific, and 1 in the Caribbean, which “grants them preferential access to markets, aid, special technical assistance, and technological capacity building, among other perks.” “. .

This is what the report “The Least Developed Countries 2022: Transition towards Low Carbon Emissions and Its Tremendous Implications for Structural Transformation” of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad, for short) shows.

Among the least developed economies in the world, in the Caribbean, for example, there is only Haiti; In the Pacific: Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu; In Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Timor-Leste and Yemen.

While in Africa there are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali and Mauritania Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia.

The list of least developed countries is reviewed every three years by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP), a group of independent experts who report to the Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc) of the United Nations. No country on the American continent appears on the map.

In the triennial review, which took place in February 2021, the criteria are: GNI per capita in US dollars; The human assets index consists of two sub-indicators: a health sub-index and an education sub-index; and the Economic and Environmental Vulnerability Index, which consists of two sub-indicators: a sub-index of economic vulnerability and a sub-index of environmental vulnerability.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has recognized them as the “least developed countries” those designated as such by the United Nations. Currently, there are 46 least developed countries on the list of the United Nations, 35 of which have become members of the WTO.

According to the WTO, eight more LDCs are negotiating their accession to the organization, whose main task is to ensure that trade is carried out in the most flexible, predictable and free way possible: Bhutan, Comoros, Ethiopia, Sao Tome and. Principe, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and East Timor.

The WTO said it “did not produce” tariffs for “developed” or “developing” countries. Developing countries are identified on a self-selection basis, although not all WTO bodies automatically accept this classification.

UNCTAD is the main United Nations institution dealing with trade and development. It is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964.

After reviewing the list every three years, the CDP may, in its report to Ecosoc, recommend countries to be added to the list or removed from LDC status. To date, six LDCs have not returned: Botswana in December 1994; Cape Verde in December 2007; Maldives in January 2011; Samoa in January 2014; Equatorial Guinea in June 2017; and Vanuatu in December 2020.

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