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Poorest nations see a glint of hope

 Supachai Panitchpakdi, secretary-general of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, feels strongly that an independent assessment of the development impact of aid is long overdue  [EPA]

When the UN General Assembly recognised a special category of member states ranked as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) back in 1971, there were only 25 which qualified for the dubious distinction of being the “poorest of the world’s poor”.

But since then, the numbers have kept rising, reaching a high of 50. So far, the only two countries to “graduate” from LDC status – indicating a significant improvement of their economies – were Botswana in 1994 and Cape Verde in 2007.

Despite the spreading financial crisis, however, at least three countries have been earmarked for graduation in the near future: Equatorial Guinea, the Maldives and Samoa.

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