The Role of ICT in Advancing Growth in Least Developed Countries

Trends, Challenges and Opportunities

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This report shows that, while LDCs are, by definition, particularly burdened by severe structural impediments to growth, progress is possible. It introduces the cases of the three countries that have graduated from the LDC status since the category was established (Botswana, Cape Verde and Maldives), as well as those of five countries in the Pacific region, facing the special challenges of being Small Island Developing States (SIDS): Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The case studies overview the progress made by each country in improving telecommunication and ICTconnectivity and establishing an enabling regulatory framework for the deployment of this infrastructure. The report also examines the impact of ICT in promoting socio-economic development in these countries and presents lessons and remaining challenges.



Emerging trends and 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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