Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

The Least Developed Countries Report 2014

Publication Year: 2014 Publisher: United Nations


Related Goals


At the beginning of the millennium the least developed countries (LDCs) enjoyed the strongest and longest growth rates since the 1970s, benefiting from sustained global growth, surging commodity prices and buoyant capital flows.

Between 2000 and 2008, the average annual growth of the group’s real gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded 7 per cent, raising hopes that some LDCs may be able to graduate from this category within the present decade.

However, since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008 and the drastic change in external conditions, LDCs have experienced a slowdown of economic activity. As a result, their economic growth has been much weaker during the past five years and well below the target rate of 7 per cent annual growth established in the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA), and considered necessary for attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Further progress in human development can only be made by reigniting sustained economic growth in the LDCs and accelerating the structural transformation of their economies. This means changing the composition of output and employment towards those economic sectors and activities with higher productivity and value added. Indeed, it is only if efficiency gains and changes in the structure of their economies happen concomitantly, that they will be able to achieve economic progress on a sustainable basis, and improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable people. History has shown that sustained economic growth and development are achieved by those countries that are able to effectively transform their productive activities from low to high productivity, and diversify their production and exports.
The Least Developed Countries Report 2014 examines the linkages between structural transformation, economic growth and human development. It argues that LDCs cannot, and should not, focus only on aggregate growth; they also need to pay attention to the type of growth pattern and its main drivers. The Report also considers what LDCs can do to transform their economies in order to foster economic growth and achieve the MDGs and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are planned to succeed them, and what the international community can do to support LDCs in their structural transformation and in their efforts to achieve the SDGs.