For use of information media - Not an official record

09 July 2007

The contents of this press release and the related Report must not be quoted or
summarized in the print, broadcast or electronic
media before 19 July 2007, 17:00 GMT
(1 PM New York, 19:00 Geneva)

Selected Facts and Figures on ´Knowledge, Technological Learning and Innovation for Development´

Where the LDCs stand on science and technology

  • There are only 94.3 scientific researchers per million people in the least developed countries (LDCs), against 313 in the other developing countries (ODCs) and 3,728 in rich countries (high-income OECD).
  • Enrolment in University-level institutions (i.e. tertiary school enrolment as a share of the corresponding age group) is only 3.5% in the LDCs, against 23% in ODCs and 69% in rich countries.
  • LDC Governments are devoting only 0.3% of their gross domestic product (GDP) to research and development (R&D), against 0.8% in other developing countries and 2.4% in rich countries.

International technology flows through trade and investment

  • For each machinery or equipment imported by least developed countries (LDCs) by inhabitant, other developing countries (ODCs) import 12 times as many: LDCs imported $18 of capital goods per inhabitant 2000-05, against some $207 for ODCs.
  • While just 20% of capital goods imports of LDCs consisted of information and communication technonoly (ICT) capital goods, in ODCs this share was much higher: ICTs made up half of ODC total capital goods imports.
  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to the LDCs in 2000-05 were three times higher than in the preceding 10 years, but still they accounted for only 1% of world inflows in 2000-05 and 0.7% of world stock in 2005. FDI inflows to the LDCs are highly concentrated geographically: just four petroleum-producing LDCs - Angola, Chad, Equatorial Guinea and Sudan - received more than half (56%) of the total FDI inflows going to all 50 LDCs in 2000-05.
  • As a result of FDI-driven manufacturing, more than 70% of total exports of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Madagascar and Haiti consist of garments.
  • Total FDI inflows into African LDCs rose fourfold from an annual average of $1.7 billion in the 1990s to $6.8 billion in 2000-05. Such an increase in FDI was due to African LDC Governments´ providing more favourable treatment to foreign investors, and to the worldwide race for new sources of natural resources.
  • South-South FDI flows to LDCs have also risen. Chinese FDI inflows in garment manufacturing in Cambodia, for example, amounted to 40% of total FDI in that industry in 2000-05.

The role of IPRs in the LDCs

  • LDC imports of technology through plans, projects, industrial designs and blueprints - rather than through physical capital goods - (i.e. licensing) amounted to $0.07 per inhabitant in 2000-2005, while in ODCs it was 90 times higher ($6.36 per inhabitant). Such imports by LDCs have stagnated since the late 1990s.
  • "
  • LDCs filed 121 patents annually between 2000-2004, while ODCs filed 171 thousand patents each year over the same period. At the same time, rich countries filed more than 1 million patents annually.
  • " In LDCs patent applications by non-residents exceeded those by residents by over ten-fold in 2000-2004.

The impact of brain drain on the LDCs

  • Five LDCs - Haiti, Cape Verde, Samoa, Gambia and Somalia - have lost more than half of their university-educated professionals in recent years because they have moved to industrialized countries in search of better working and living conditions.
  • Asian LDCs received more than twice from workers´ remittances than from official development assistance (ODA) in 2005: $7 billion in the former case versus $ 3 billion in the latter. For all the LDCs, remittances amounted to some two thirds of the total ODA of $18 billion received in the same year.

Donors´ attention to STI building in the LDCs

  • Over the last 25 years only 3.9% of total World Bank lending has gone to science and technology (S&T) projects. The largest borrowers of non-agricultural S&T were middle-income highly populated countries (Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile and Mexico). The LDCs - other than Bangladesh - have been effectively excluded.
  • Aid for science, technology and innovation (STI) is a low priority for donors. Annual disbursements for the development of advanced and specific skills and for research during the period 2003-05 constituted only 3.6% of total aid disbursements to LDCs.
  • Donors allotted only $22 million per year to agricultural research in the LDCs during the period 2003-05. This is equivalent to just 0.03% of their agricultural GDP.
  • The agricultural research investment effort of LDCs, as measured by the agricultural research intensity ratio - i.e. agricultural research as a share of agricultural GDP - amounts to 0.47%, versus 1.7% in ODCs. However, that intensity had been at the same level in both LDCs and ODCs until 1991, when that of the LDCs dropped by more than half.


1. The Least Developed Countries Report 2007: Knowledge, Technological Learning and Innovation for Development (Sales No. E.07.II.D.8, ISBN 978-92-1-112717-1) may be obtained from UN sales offices at the addresses below or from UN sales agents in many countries. Price US$ 50.00, and at a special price of US$ 18.00 in developing countries and countries in transition). Please send orders or enquiries for Europe, Africa and Western Asia to United Nations Publication/Sales Section, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland, fax: +41 22 917 0027, e-mail: unpubli@un.org ; and for the Americas and Eastern Asia, to United Nations Publications, Two UN Plaza, DC2-853, New York, NY 10017, USA, tel: +1 212 963 8302 or +1 800 253 9646, fax: +1 212 963 3489, e-mail: publications@un.org . Internet: http://www.un.org/publications .

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