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15 October 1997

Norway today announced a contribution of US$935,000 to the UNCTAD Trust Fund for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The aim of the Trust Fund is to help LDCs integrate into the world economy. With the Norwegian contribution, finance pledged so far, and commitments in the pipeline, amount to US$2,800,000, over half of the initial target of US$5 million.

The Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Mr. Rubens Ricupero, expressed his thanks to the Government of Norway for this new contribution which demonstrated its strong support to the development of UNCTAD´s technical cooperation activities as redefined at UNCTAD IX.

Technical cooperation activities undertaken under the Trust Fund focus on strengthening export supply capacities through the development of integrated country-level programmes. Such programmes may include support for trade policy reforms and trade diversification, and financial and fiscal sector reforms. Other objectives are to improve trade and investment supporting/promoting services, enterprise development, enhancing the role of women in the development process, promoting trade efficiency and technology. The Trust Fund was established at UNCTAD IX, in May 1996, and became operational in February 1997.

The Norwegian contribution will be used to finance UNCTAD´s activities under its DMFAS Programme (debt management), TRAINFORTRADE, Biotrade, and capacity-building for a possible Multilateral Framework on Investment. In addition, an unearmarked contribution (US$100,000) will assist start-up activities associated with UNCTAD-integrated country programmes for LDCs. The Norwegian Government also financed a pilot seminar on portfolio investments in LDCs, held earlier this year.

A novel aspect of this Trust Fund is that it is funded not only by traditional donors, but also by developing countries. Other contributors so far have been India, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the Republic of Korea. Financing will be sought also from non-governmental organizations, as well as private foundations and companies.

Norway is traditionally among the major contributors (US$4,220,671 during 1983 - 1996) to UNCTAD´s operational activities.

There are currently 48 countries classified by the United Nations as least developed, with a population of approximately 600 million and an average annual income of less than US$700 per capita. Out of these countries 33 are situated in Africa.

The 48 LDCs are: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People´s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia.

For more information, please contact:
Press Officer of UNCTAD, Carine Richard-Van Maele
T: +41 22 917 5816/28
F: +41 22 907 0043


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