The Fifth Least Developed Countries Summit will be held in the capital of Qatar, from March 5th to 9th. Created by the United Nations in 1971, this category identifies 46 countries with many social and economic deficits, such as low living standards, high infant mortality or lack of economic diversification.
attract international attention. From March 5th to 9th, leaders and representatives of around fifty countries gathered in Doha for a conference of least developed countries, especially those affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, the war in Ukraine, then inflation, food and energy.
Established in 1971 by the United Nations, the status of Least Developed Country refers to the least socially and economically developed countries on the planet. The list of least developed countries initially consisted of 25 countries, and now includes 46 countries, including 33 in Africa, 12 in Asia and the Pacific, and Haiti. Among them are Afghanistan, Benin, Ethiopia, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal. This group represents 880 million people, or 12% of the world’s population.
Three Social And Economic Criteria
The criteria examined to qualify a country as least developed between 2017 and 2020 were reviewed by the Development Policy Committee, the United Nations body responsible for drawing up the list of least developed countries. This is based on three main criteria: the income index, the human capital index and the economic and environmental vulnerability index.
The income indicator is based on gross national income per capita, which is an indicator calculated on the basis of gross domestic product. Countries with GNI less than US$1,222 are considered LDCs (by comparison, France had a per capita income of more than US$40,000 in 2021).
The second criterion consists of two indicators: one related to health and the other related to education. The health index is calculated based on infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate and stunting. It is education-based, compiling school enrollment rate, adult literacy rate, and Gender Parity in Education Index.
The third criterion is based on the economic and environmental vulnerability of countries. Economic vulnerability is assessed according to the share of agriculture, hunting and fishing in the country’s GDP, its landlocked location, the concentration of its commodity exports and the instability of its exports. Environmental vulnerability is calculated according to the portion of the population that lives in geographical areas at risk (arid areas, low coastal areas, with a large number of victims of disasters).
Checklist Every Three Years
These data are reviewed every three years by the United Nations Development Policy Committee. If a non-least developed country meets the inclusion thresholds for each of the three criteria, it can join the list of least developed countries. However, any country can refuse to be included in this list. This is what happened, for example, in Zimbabwe, Bolivia or North Korea.
On the other hand, when a country exceeds the inclusion limits in at least two criteria, it leaves the list of LDCs, such as Botswana in 1994, Cape Verde in 2007, Maldives in 2011 or even Equatorial Guinea in 2017. it is no longer developed today. Bhutan is expected to leave in 2023, followed by Sao Tome and Principe and the Solomon Islands in 2024.
Biased Global Financial System
According to the last triennial review, carried out in 2021, Cambodia, Comoros, Djibouti, Senegal and Zambia have reached the graduation threshold, which paves the way for these countries to leave the list of least developed countries during the next review. , in 2024. However, some countries refuse to “reclassify” and leave the list of least developed countries. Classification as a PMA allows it to benefit from commercial privileges and easy access to aid and other funding.
This indicator is regularly criticized, being seen by some as a tool of dominance by Northern countries over Southern countries – many LDCs are also ex-colonies. Others consider the tool simply ineffective, as the number of countries classified as least developed countries has doubled since its creation.
Opening the Doha summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres himself questioned its significance, saying that “the deeply biased global financial system – designed by rich countries to benefit rich countries – gives unfair treatment to less developed countries”.