Building Productive Capacities in Structurally Weak Developing Countries

29 June 2017

UNCTAD organized a brainstorming meeting with experts on "Building Productive Capacities in Structurally Weak Developing Countries, in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29 to 30 June 2017.

The objectives of the meeting were: (a) to seek ways and means to apply existing analytical framework with the view to assisting countries in building their productive capacities; (b) to articulate and clearly define areas for future collaboration within the UN system within their respective mandates and competences; and (c) to exchange views on how to best assess the state of productive capacities in structurally weak developing countries, including measuring progress in the area across countries and over time.

During the meeting a series of presentations were made on substantive, analytical and technical aspects of developing productive capacities in structurally weak and vulnerable economies. The presentations also included a reflection on the conceptual definition of the concept and the challenges as well as opportunities in measuring progress in the area.

Fostering productive capacities in structurally weak developing economies is challenging because they are heavily dependent on a few primary commodities for exports and have low financial and human resources, weak institutional capacities, low technological capabilities, and weak production linkages. In this context, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will depend in part on the extent to which structurally weak developing economies can build and mainstream productive capacities into domestic trade and development polices. It will also depend on the extent to which the international community is able and willing to effectively assist them in lifting the binding constraints to growth and development.

UN System agencies (UNIDO, DESA-CDP, ITC) and other international organizations (IATA and Common Wealth Secretariat), academics from the Australian National University, the University of Nairobi and the Botswana Institute for Development Policy as well as experts from UNCTAD have actively participated and contributed to the discussions.