The workshop, which is being held at the request of the Government of Angola, will take place in Luanda from 30 July to 1 August.
It will examine Angola's prospects, opportunities and challenges in meeting current LDC graduation criteria. The criteria include reaching established United Nations thresholds related to income (gross national income, or GNI, per capita), human assets, and economic vulnerability.
Angola joined the ranks of the LDCs in 1994 on the basis of a United Nations General Assembly resolution. The passage of the resolution followed reviews of the state of Angola's economy and subsequent recommendations to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) by the Committee for Development Policy (which was then known as the Committee for Development Planning).
Since then, Angola has made tangible progress, especially in economic performance. From 2000 to 2010, its gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average rate of 11.25 per cent - the third-highest performance within the LDC group during that period, after Equatorial Guinea (18.27 per cent) and Myanmar (12.05 per cent). This growth rate is also much higher than the 7 per cent target agreed to in the context of the Brussels Programme of Action. A rate of growth of 7 per cent was identified in the Programme of Action as being necessary in order to significantly reduce poverty in LDCs.
Angola's GDP per capita rose almost sevenfold between 2000 and 2010 - from about $655 to $4,422 per year (in current United States dollars). Because of this significant progress, Angola has surpassed, by far, the $1,190 GDP per capita threshold stipulated by the United Nations for countries to qualify for exiting the LDC category.
Nevertheless, Angola's economic growth has been driven largely by its export sector, where a single commodity - petroleum - accounted for 95 per cent of total exports in the decade from 2002 to 2011, making Angola one of the most undiversified economies in the world. The country had an export concentration index of 0.95 during this period. In terms of meeting key Millennium Development Goals, although Angola has made tangible progress by halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition, the country is either lagging behind other countries or making very slow progress on several other indicators such as halving the proportion of its population living in absolute poverty by 2015.
The training and capacity-building workshop will examine in detail the progress, challenges and opportunities related to Angola's eventual graduation from LDC status. The intention is to help the Government develop effective policies and strategies prior to, during and after graduation, with a focus on ensuring structural economic transformation centred on building productive capacities, which should include diversification, value addition, and employment creation.
UNCTAD has consistently advocated for special and differential treatment in support of LDCs. In fact, an early study by UNCTAD of the "differing characteristics and stages of development of developing countries" led to the establishment of the LDC category, by the General Assembly in 1971. Since then, UNCTAD has worked to advance the trade and development interests of LDCs through its research and policy analysis, technical cooperation, and consensus-building functions.
UNCTAD also has a long record of assisting countries after they have graduated from the LDC category. This includes support in developing smooth transition strategies, in establishing vulnerability profiles, and in designing policies and strategies for coping with post-graduation environments.
UNCTAD's research and policy analysis has indicated that successful economic growth such as that observed by Angola in recent years should be the cause and consequence of structural economic transformation, which is the creation of new areas of economic activity by shifting resources from traditional to modern economic sectors and from low-tech and low-productivity to high-tech and higher-productivity modes of production. Such an approach will be discussed during the training workshop.
The workshop will be attended by senior Government officials of Angola - policymakers and advisors - as well as by representatives of the private sector, civil society and academia.