Still in the bind

Monday 30 September 2002

Least developed countries (LDCs) are caught in a vicious cycle of debt and aid. Stiff and biased trade barriers by industrialised countries helps complete the exploitative bind

-- See more graphs
The total number of people living on less than US $1 a day in the LDCs during 1995-99 was 307 million. Total population of the LDCs is 613 million

With most of the resources meant for immediate survival little is left to build a country

Perpetual poverty in the LDCs is a grim mix of foreign aid and biased
  trade.
  Foreign doles and a skewed trade regime aids greater poverty

The business of trade, debts and aid
More than one third of the LDCs saw a sharp decline in their trade between 1997-2000

The North is oil hungry. No wonder just four oil-exporting countries, inc;uding Sudan, got more than 50 per cent of the total investment made by the North in LDCs. Rest 45 countries got a raw deal

Foreign aid (or overseas development assistance) to the LDCs dropped by 46 per cent in 1999-2000

Little money is left for development when every dollar is put aside to repay loans

Last year Malawi had to sell its stock of food to repay international debts. When famine hit the country this year, it had to seek more aid and debt. Short selling their natural resources is the only way out for many of the LDCs

Source: Anon 2002, The Least Developed Countries Report 2002, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, New york, USA

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