Graduation from the category of least developed countries: Rationale, achievement and prospects

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Introduction: A short story of the LDCs graduation[1]

The Least Developed Country (LDC) category was from the start meant to include low income countries facing structural handicaps to economic growth (in the 2011 CDP report economic growth has been replaced with “sustainable development”). Under various names, the structural handicaps considered for the identification of the LDCs have been deficient human resources and weak economic structure. Let us recall that the LDCs are identified by three mandatory complementary criteria for inclusion into the category (CDP and UNDESA 2008; CDP 2015): income level as measured by Gross National Income per capita (GNIpc), and two indicators of structural handicaps, the Human Asset Index (HAI) and the Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI). Poor countries simultaneously facing these two kinds of handicaps have been described as “caught in a trap”, and  in need of special international attention and support measures (Guillaumont 2009a). In the long term, with the help of these measures, it should have been hoped that the countries identified as LDCs  will progressively overcome their structural handicaps and exit from the category, leading the LDC category to shrink. .../...


[1] This section and the following relies heavily on a previous paper of the authors (Drabo and Guillaumont 2016)

Drabo, A. and Guillaumont, P. (2017) "Graduation from the category of least developed countries: Rationale, achievement and prospects", FERDI Working paper P208, december.