Supporting inclusive growth and sustainable development in Least Developed Countries

18 December 2013
ITC News
More must be done to support inclusive growth and sustainable development in LDCs

ITC Acting Deputy Executive Director Ashish Shah tells UNIDO meeting that Least Developed Countries continue to suffer from access to international trade

A post-2015 development agenda should give greater attention to economic empowerment issues, particularly in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Ashish Shah, Acting Deputy Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), told a meeting of LDC government ministers and relevant stakeholders in Peru. Mr. Shah was addressing the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) LDC Ministerial Conference, which took place from 30 November to 1 December 2013 in Lima, Peru.

The meeting brought together more than 250 participants, including LDC ministers in charge of industry, United Nations agencies, regional economic commissions, emerging countries’ institutions, donors and private sector entities, to promote the formation of partnerships that will bring sustainable livelihoods and inclusive welfare for LDCs’ citizens.

‘Increased attention to trade and competitiveness issues in the post-2015 development agenda will result in a strong global partnership to leverage trade as an engine for inclusive growth and sustainable development,’ Mr. Shah said. ‘Anchoring the special needs of LDCs, particularly those related to industrial and trade development, will help to catalyse international attention and ensure a coordinated response to help improve livelihoods in these countries.’

Tiny share of global trade

Mr. Shah told the meeting that, after more than three decades of collective action, LDCs continue to suffer from insurmountable structural challenges, which prevent them from making significant gains in international trade for the benefit of their people. He said that LDCs have a share of less than 1% of global trade in goods, 0.72% of global gross domestic product and 0.52% of world manufacturing value added, in spite of having a share of 12% of the global population, and that urgent measures are needed to reverse this trend.

‘Industrial and trade development can transform economies, create jobs and incomes for people and bring about broad-based prosperity,’ he said. Mr. Shah also emphasized that economic growth requires sound market-led policies, an environment for business to flourish, strong institutions, and the right mix of good human resources, appropriate technology and financial investments to support trade and industrial development. According to Mr. Shah, LDCs accounted for about 60% of ITC’s technical assistance in 2012 and LDCs will continue to remain ITC’s priority in the years to come.

Shah outlined areas of work where ITC is actively involved in assisting LDCs, including participation in the Enhanced Integrated Framework initiative, which sets the standards for delivering Aid for Trade to LDCs; providing trade-related technical assistance; assisting LDCs on how to respond to challenges on sustainable tourism development; establishing industrial partnerships, the use of trade intelligence and the activation of market opportunities with international buyers; enhancing supply-side capacities in LDCs; and strengthening the role of women in agriculture.