Catching Up

What LDCs can do, and how others can help

image of Catching Up
Despite solid gains made during the last decade, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are not keeping pace with other countries and the gap between them and the rest of the developing world has in fact widened. This means that LDCs will have to progress even faster to avoid being left further behind.

In this publication, economist and award-winning author of The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier, suggests a menu of strategic policies around which governments might rally that could help LDCs to reduce this differentiation. He argues that the only actors who can lead this process are the governments of LDCs themselves working together towards clear and well-founded goals.

He emphasises the need for effective change and highlights potential future problems associated with the management of natural resources and the threat of climate change. Implementing the right policies, he argues, is essential if LDCs are to catch up and not become detached from the rest of mankind.




The period 2000–2008 was, in retrospect, a remarkable global boom during which developing countries converged rapidly on member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Most least developed countries took part in this growth, in contrast to the previous two decades, during which they had stagnated. Per capita income rose on average by an unprecedented 4 per cent per year, and this was reflected in some of the fundamental indicators of wellbeing: for example, infant mortality dropped by around 11 per cent. Consistent with these impressive improvements in outcomes, measures of governance advanced: assessing governance is controversial, but the average score on the widely-used International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) increased by nearly 4.5 points.


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