World Economy

World’s Poorest Nations Lack Structural Reforms: UN

World’s Poorest Nations Lack Structural Reforms: UNWorld’s Poorest Nations Lack Structural Reforms: UN

The planet’s poorest nations like Ethiopia, Malawi and Angola have failed to cash in on strong economic growth due to a lack of structural reforms and left them wallowing in poverty, the UN warned Thursday.

In its annual report on the world’s least developed countries, or LDCs, the UN Conference on Trade and Development said that booming economic growth in the 48 nations on its list was having only minor impacts on living standards and the fight against widespread poverty, AFP reported.

“The LDC paradox arises from the failure of LDC economies to achieve structural changes despite having grown vigorously as a result of strong export prices and rising aid flows”, UNCTAD said.

The 48 countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa, had jointly seen their economies grow 5.6 percent in 2013 -- far above the 1.2-percent growth seen in developed countries.

Yet nearly half of the population in LDCs continue to live in extreme poverty, almost 30 percent of people are undernourished and few are in secure employment, the UNCTAD report said.

Nearly one third of people in these countries have no access to a clean water source and almost two thirds have no access to sanitation facilities, it said, also pointing out that one in 12 children there die before they turn five.

One problem, the report said, was that many LDCs, especially the ones in Africa, are not investing enough in areas that generate secure employment, like manufacturing, technology and modernizing the agriculture sector.