UNCTAD´s annual report on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is the most comprehensive, and authoritative, source of socio-economic analysis and data on the world´s 48 least developed countries.
The main focus of The Least Developed Countries, 1998 Report, is an analysis of how different aspects of the multilateral trading system affect opportunities and constraints for least developed countries (LDCs) to enhance their participation in the world economy. The Report also examines the evolving interface between trade issues and the development objectives of LDCs. It analyses, in particular, several aspects of the multilateral trading system which traditionally have not been the main focus of concern for LDCs, but which are rapidly becoming important as these countries attempt to diversify their economies and enhance their involvement in the global economy. These issues include the extension of the multilateral framework to cover trade and the environment, and trade in services.
The Report focuses on two other issues: the implementation of WTO agreements by LDCs and how implementation by the developed countries is likely to affect LDCs, and how the process of accession could be expedited for the 19 LDCs which are not members of WTO while ensuring that they enjoy the same rights and concessions as current LDC members. The Report also identifies areas where specific concessions and provisions in multilateral agreements may be beneficial to LDCs and areas in which LDCs should develop a proactive agenda which systematically puts forward their concerns and interests in the global trading system.
The Report is intended for a broad readership of governments, policy-makers, researchers and all those involved with LDCs in particular and development policy in general.
The Report includes a statistical annex, which provides basic data on the LDCs.