Saturday, November 27, 2010

Extreme Poverty Doubles Around the World

Extreme poverty doubles

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 9:03

The number of very poor countries has doubled in the last 30 to 40
years, while the number of people living in extreme poverty has also
grown two-fold, a UN think-tank warned on Thursday.

In its annual report on the 49 least developed countries (LDCs) in the
world, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that the model of development that has prevailed to date for these countries has failed and should be re-assessed.

"The traditional models that have been applied to LDCs that tend to
move the LDCs in the direction of trade-related growth seem not to
have done very well," said Supachai Panitchpakdi, secretary general of

"What happened is that in the past 30-40 years, the number of LDCs
have doubled so it has actually deteriorated, the number of people
living under the poverty line has doubled from the 1980s."

The report indicated that the situation has sharply deteriorated in
the past few years.

The number of individuals living in extreme poverty "increased by
three million per year during the boom years of 2002 and 2007,"
reaching 421-million people in 2007.

While these countries proved somewhat resilient during the crisis,
they are nevertheless very fragile, notably due to their dependence on

"The import dependance has become quite devastating, the expenditure for LDCs on food imports rose from $9-billion in 2002 to $23-billion in 2008," noted Supachai."

In addition, the economies in these countries are little diversified,
with very weak improvements in domestic savings, a strong reliance on
external savings and a faster depletion of natural resources, said

"All these shortcomings are now hindering the nations' post-recession
development prospects," it warned, calling on the countries to adopt a
new structure of development.

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