Many LDCs still over dependent on a few commodities, lack food security, UNCTAD study finds

07 September 2012

A new UNCTAD study just released sheds further light on the role of commodities in the economic growth and development of the 48 countries designated by the United Nations as least developed countries (LDCs).

The study titled: "Enabling the Graduation of LDCs: Enhancing the Role of Commodities and Improving Agricultural Productivity" is the product of a project designed to track the impact of the recent multiple crises (financial and economic crises, including, fuel and food) on the commodities sector of the least developed countries and the challenges of ensuring food security in these countries.

It contains a synthesis of several case studies on sectoral and thematic issues of strategic significance to LDCs and provides policy analysis together with recommendations for action at the national, regional and international levels.

The study particularly responds, through evidence-based analysis, to a question as to how can as many LDCs as possible graduate from the LDC category, given the immense socioeconomic challenges facing them, especially in the face of excessive fragility and vulnerability to shocks of their growth performance.

The Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), held in Istanbul in May 2011 adopted a Programme of Action that, for the first time, included an explicit, time-bound and concrete objective of enabling half of the LDCs to meet the criteria for graduation by 2020.

The UNCTAD study argues that the boom-bust cycle of the 2000s showed in stark terms that natural resources play a crucial role in LDCs’ economic growth, poverty reduction and food security and articulates the dangers of excessive dependence of LDCs’ exports on a few commodities.

The study will serve as background documentation for the Fifty-ninth Session of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board, 17 - 28 September, and other relevant fora dealing with issues related to the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for LDCs.

Financial contribution for the study came from the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC).​