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LDC graduation: Bangladesh makes good progress

The Istanbul Programme of Action set a difficult goal in 2011, namely to quicken the pace of LDC graduation and reduce the number of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) by half by 2020. That goal is clearly unlikely to be met. However, a number of Asia-Pacific LDCs, including Bhutan, Nepal, Lao PDR followed by Bangladesh and Myanmar, appear to be moving quite rapidly towards graduation. Timor Leste and the Pacific Islands enjoy a relatively high income level but are beset with deep structural issues that make graduation problematic while Afghanistan remains in the reconstruction and peace-building phase which may take some more time to be resolved.

The 12 LDCs in this grouping vary enormously in terms of income, human assets, type and nature of economic vulnerability, demographic patterns, dependence on agriculture, poverty and inequality, and stage of structural transformation. Four of these are land-locked (Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Lao, PDR) and four are 'sea-locked' (Timor Leste, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu). There is also enormous variation in terms of demography, socio-economics, trade, industry and agriculture.

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