ICT and Telecommunications in Least Developed Countries

Review of Progress Made During the Decade 2000 - 2010

image of ICT and Telecommunications in Least Developed Countries

The ITU report ICT and Telecommunications in Least Developed Countries: Review of progress made during the decade 2000-2010 is produced as an input to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2011. The objective of this report is to present projects and actions the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) undertook from 2006 to 2010 to assist least developed countries (LDCs) in joining the knowledge economy through the deployment and use of information and communication technologies (ICT). The report seeks to complement and update the 2001-2005 review of activities ITU presented at the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in 2006, in which the UN conducted a comprehensive mid-term assessment of the progress made until then in implementing the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 (PoA). The Programme of Action was adopted at the Third UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries, held in Brussels in May 2001, to establish a comprehensive, result-oriented, poverty reduction strategy, tailored to the special needs of the LDCs. The Programme of Action – also known as the Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA) – has an overarching goal to make “substantial progress towards halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and suffering from hunger by 2015 and promote sustainable development” of LDCs. To this end, the BPoA developed a framework for partnership between LDCs and their development partners carrying the overarching goal of helping in the eradication of poverty.



Current challenges

Historically, the participation of least developed countries in global trade has been limited. According to the UN, their share in the global merchandise trade rose from 0.62 per cent in 2002 to 1.08 per cent in 2008, with exports destined equally to developed and developing countries. To promote economic growth and industrialization, LDCs require the support of schemes that facilitate access of their exports to new markets and provide stable sources of development financing. A primary benefit low-income countries derive from their inclusion in the LDC category is access to special support measures from bilateral donors and multilateral organizations, as well as preferential treatment in multilateral and regional trade agreements they participate in. Mainly, LDCs receive support in the areas of international trade – through preferential market access, special treatment in their obligations before the World Trade Organization (WTO) and support in developing capacity in trade-related matters –, and of official development assistance (ODA), which can be provided through development financing or technical cooperation.


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