Languages

Topbar Menu EN

Search our database of publications





The Least Developed Countries Report 2016

Graduation is the process through which a country ceases to be an LDC, having in principle overcome the structural handicaps that warrant special support from the international community, beyond that generally granted to other developing countries. However, the Report argues that it should be regarded, not as a winning post, but rather as a milestone in a country's long-term economic and social development. Thus, the focus should not be on graduation itself, but rather on "graduation with momentum", which will lay the foundations for long-term development and allow potential pitfalls to be avoided far beyond the country's exit from the LDC category. Structural transformation, the importance of which is explicitly recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, plays a fundamental role in this process. While there are numerous international support measures (ISMs) for LDCs, their contribution towards graduation is undermined to varying degrees by vague formulation, non-enforceability of commitments, insufficient funding, slow operationalization and exogenous developments in international trade and finance. Their effectiveness also depends critically on the institutional capacities of each LDC to leverage them in support of its own development agenda. The Report highlights the need for LDCs to move from graduation strategies focused on qualification for graduation to "graduation-plus" strategies that take a long-term perspective and foster structural transformation. It also shows the need for better and more effective ISMs, as well as a more stable and development-oriented international environment.

View online/download
External Link

Trade and Development Report (TDR) 2016: structural transformation for inclusive and sustained growth

This report reviews recent trends in the global economy and focuses on the policies needed to foster structural transformation. It identifies some of the critical issues to be addressed in order to set in place structural transformation processes.

View online/download
External Link

Roll Back Malaria: advocacy for resource mobilization (ARM) guide

This guide is to provide malaria stakeholders in endemic countries with an advocacy implementation guide, case studies and tools to assist them with mobilizing resources for malaria control and elimination at the country level. The intended audience for this guide includes a variety of in-country stakeholders from government officials in national malaria control programs to implementing partners focusing on health and malaria who recognize the need for additional resources and more effective use of them to scale up malaria efforts at the national and local level.

View online/download
External Link

Trade and health: towards building a national strategy

Globalization and the rise of international trade of goods and services in terms of volume and speed influence human health. This influence can be both positive and negative. Our work on “trade and health” is all about harnessing and maximizing opportunities to promote public health and minimizing the risks and threats.

View online/download
External Link

Population dynamics in the LDCs: challenges and opportunities for development and poverty reduction

This report, prepared for the 2011 UN Conference on Least Developed Countries, outlines major population dynamics in LDCs and addresses their implications for development and poverty reduction. It identifies five areas of intervention that can help countries anticipate, shape and plan for changes in their population. These areas include: focusing investments on adolescents and youth; increasing access to sexual and reproductive health care and empowering women; strengthening capacity to integrate population dynamics in the framework of sustainable development; linking population to climate change; and effectively utilizing data in public policy and development. According to the latest survey of the United Nations Population Division, about three-quarters of the governments of LDCs are concerned with major demographic shifts projected to impact them: high fertility, high population growth and rapid urbanization.

View online/download
External Link

Manufacturing progress? Employment creation in Sri Lanka

This study, written in collaboration with ECDPM, aims to explain the employment progress achieved in Sri Lanka from 1990 to 2010. This period has seen a drastic reduction in unemployment, and improved working conditions, particularly for women, accompanied by structural transformation away from agriculture towards manufacturing and services. The drivers of employment progress in quality, quantity and access are examined in terms of policies affecting demand for and supply of labour. While this employment progress has been achieved under unique and challenging conditions, not least a civil war from 1983 to 2009, the study attempts to draw conclusions for policy-makers in other contexts. In particular it points to the long-term adherence to a hybrid industrial policy agenda comprising outward market orientation and policies to promote investment into export processing zones, attention to education and vocational training, and continuing strong government economic activity in the form of state-owned enterprises and public employment. As for any progress story, employment progress is not necessarily ‘success’ – outward migration and war-related employment have also been key factors. Nonetheless, Sri Lanka is on a trajectory of economic transformation that, with the end of the civil war, offers a strong basis for further employment progress and improved livelihoods.

View online/download
External Link

Establishing a workable follow-up and review process for the Sustainable Development Goals

The Open Working Group document proposes that governments will set its own national targets. They will be guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances. To make the Post-2015 agenda actionable, much more thought needs to be given to the process of target-setting, different actors’ responsibilities, implementation and accountability.

View online/download
External Link

Towards a better life? A cautionary tale of progress in Ahmedabad

In the western Indian state of Gujarat, where Ahmedabad is located, the urban poverty rate declined from 28% in 1993-94 to 10% in 2011-12. Trade unions, such as the Self-employed Women’s Association, founded in Ahmedabad in 1972, have played a key role in organising and empowering informal workers. By 2001 Ahmedabad was already above both state and national urban averages in the coverage of drinking water, and progress has continued. The municipal government has introduced specific programmes to improve access to public utilities – water, sanitation and electricity – for slum dwellers irrespective of tenure status. Additionally, the city stands out for its ‘smart growth’ through proactive planning for urban expansion, enabling a compact urban area while allotting spaces to house poor families. However, gaps have remained and relations between communities and the government have become strained in recent years. Significant sections of the population continue to lack access to good quality services, and Ahmedabad has evolved into a city segmented by class, caste and religion. Further, across much of urban India there has been a shift in the conception of development from inclusive growth to the creation of ‘global cities’ marked by capital-intensive projects. As a result, dialogue has decreased, becoming increasingly confrontational, and the availability of public funds has diverted focus away from flexible local programmes built on a collaborative model of development. While urbanisation has been recognised as key to India’s future, the experience of Ahmedabad provides key lessons – both positive and cautionary – relevant to urbanisation both nationally and globally.

View online/download
External Link

Mind the gap? A comparison of international and national targets for the SDG agenda

The stretch required for low-income countries (LICs) to achieve SDG targets is generally greater than for middle-income and high-income countries (MICs and HICs). The gaps identified indicate where most work is needed to alter political priorities in order to realise the SDGs. Most hard work will be needed in areas that are highly politically contentious (climate policy) or expensive (secondary education, electricity and sanitation). This has implications for how governments structure a review process and how resources are mobilised for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. The report also found a great deal of variation in the approach to measuring targets at the national level. A standardised approach would make comparisons easier and hold governments more readily to account.

View online/download
External Link

One foot on the ground, one foot in the air: Ethiopia’s delivery on an ambitious development agenda

This case study looks at the progress achieved in material well-being, education and employment, where Ethiopia has shown particularly strong performance over the past 10 to 15 years. However this transformation is far from complete and a number of challenges remain, not least the depth and breadth of chronic poverty. A number of key lessons for the Sustainable Development Goals can be drawn from Ethiopia's experience: 1) Centring government policy on a single goal - poverty reduction - and taking a multidimensional approach can encourage ministries to work more comprehensively and consistently; 2) Integrating social sectors into broader economic planning and high rates of pro-poor spending benefit the economy; 3) Long-term planning and a clear division of responsibilities can build the foundation for broader transformation.

View online/download
External Link

Low-carbon development in Sub-Saharan Africa: 20 cross-sector transitions

Sub-Saharan Africa is at a critical point, experiencing rapid population growth, particularly in urban areas, and a young and growing workforce. At the same time, the growing risk of catastrophic global climate change threatens to weaken food production systems; increase the intensity and frequency of droughts, floods, and fires; and undermine gains in development and poverty reduction. Although the region has the lowest per capita greenhouse gas emission levels in the world, it will need to join global efforts to address climate change, including through actions to avoid significant increases in emissions. This report reviews agriculture, forestry, energy, transport, extractives, construction and manufacturing, based on their importance to countries' economic development and their contribution to current and future greenhouse gas emissions. Based on this sector-specific analysis, we identify 20 cross-sector transitions that can be undertaken to promote low-carbon development in the region.

View online/download
External Link

Sharing the fruits of progress: poverty reduction in Ecuador

This case study illustrates and explains Ecuador’s progress in reducing poverty and inequality, focusing on the period between 2000 and 2012. Drawing on primary interviews and secondary analyses, we argue that Ecuador’s success can be explained by four main economic and political factors. First, high oil prices helped the country to achieve economic stability and growth in a context of dollarisation. Second, growth gave way to changes in the labour market that benefited the poorest people, through a decline in unemployment and an increase in real wages. Third, Rafael Correa’s election in 2007 brought about radical change in adopting highly redistributive social policies. These were financed through measures to create fiscal space such as the re-writing of oil contracts, the restructuring of the public debt and the channelling of all oil revenues into the budgeting process. The poorest people also benefited from the expansion of the cash transfer programme, Bono de Desarrollo Humano, and the improved provision of health and education services, though these have often been used for political ends. Today, Ecuador faces the challenge of advancing and deepening the progress it has achieved in changing domestic and international circumstances, in particular the falling price of oil and the ending of Correa’s final presidential term. Further reduction of poverty will require paying greater attention to social sectors that have not shared fully in the benefits of growth, especially those living in rural areas, in certain geographical regions and the Afro-Ecuadorian and indigenous populations. In addition, the country will need to build upon the momentum it has established and channel it into a process of structural transformation.

View online/download
External Link

Building electricity supplies in Africa for growth and universal access

Although Africa has enormous energy resources, more than half of the continent’s population do not have any access to electricity and generation is often unable to meet the demand of those who do. Growth and poverty reduction will be constrained if this deficit continues. The purpose of this paper is to outline the nature of the opportunities and challenges for expanding the supply of electricity to meet development objectives, taking into account recent reductions in the costs of renewable energy. The two challenges of expanding electricity generation and distribution for economic growth, and extending electricity supplies to those who do not yet have access, are inter-related but require different policies and interventions.

View online/download
External Link

Bridging Costa Rica's green growth gap: how to support further transformation toward a green economy

Costa Rica’s track record on economic, social and environmental issues is second to none. It has strong comparative advantages, from its skilled and educated population to its political stability, and from its robust economy to its abundant natural resources. It has weathered numerous financial and economic storms and remains competitive on the global stage. Therefore, Costa Rica is regarded by many as an economic and environmental success story, with an admirable record of ‘green growth’—economic growth that minimizes pollution and uses and manages resources efficiently. Yet Costa Rica is also a victim of its own success: its leadership in some areas may have blinded it to its green growth gaps. As Costa Rica approaches a crossroads in its economic and environmental journey, its choices could provide the model for others to follow. ODI’s analysis highlights the deep structural challenges to the organisation of Costa’s Rica’s economy. We also, however, suggest some ‘quick wins’ that will propel Costa Rica towards long-term approaches to better align its economic and environmental performance. These include four primary recommendations.

View online/download
External Link

Piecing together the MDG puzzle: domestic policy, government spending and performance

Policy-makers in most of the developing countries surveyed report that the MDGs were influential in setting priorities domestically. Analysis of the education and health sectors suggests these statements are not merely tokenistic as countries reporting high influence saw increases in budget allocations. However while many countries experienced increases in government spending in social sectors over the MDG period, the majority still spend less than the recommended international benchmarks. Significant increases in government allocations will therefore be required to match the ambition of the SDGs. Recommendations for the SDG period include ensuring better data on domestic use of targets, government spending and performance are available to better assess their influence over the next 15 years and ensure the 'leave no one behind' agenda will be fulfilled.

View online/download
External Link

National MDG implementation: lessons for the SDG era

As we approach the deadline for the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the start of the Sustainable Development Goals, at the end of 2015, this paper asks: how did governments respond at the national level to the set of global development goals in the form of the MDGs? Using five case study countries: Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Nigeria and Liberia, to reflect a mix of regions, income classifications and MDG performance, the paper draws out common trends and suggests five lessons for the post-2015 era.

View online/download
External Link

Disentangling transit costs and time in South Asia

Under the overarching research theme of the impact of regional infrastructure for trade facilitation on growth and poverty reduction, this study attempts to identify the trade barriers that impede the trade flow of Nepal and Bhutan through the gateways ports of Kolkata and Haldia in India. This case study focuses on the impact of transit regulations and agreements on the cost of services required to transit goods between the ports and Bhutan or Nepal.

View online/download
External Link

Developing export-based manufacturing in sub-Saharan Africa

This report describes how production, employment, trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) in the manufacturing sectors in nine selected sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries has increased in the recent decade and identifies opportunities for the development of promising manufacturing sectors in the future. The paper uses a number of techniques to examine promising country-specific sectors. Africa already has a share that is greater than 2% of world trade in fertilizers, chemicals, leather products, apparel, oil, iron and steel. Qualitative accounts and calculations using standard techniques indicate that there are some very interesting opportunities in the following African manufacturing sectors: garments, agribusiness, mineral processing, manufactures of consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, and food, beverages and tobacco. Finally, the report examines rankings for selected countries in terms of geographical advantages, market size, economic fundamentals, general investment climate and specific policies. Some countries are well positioned in relation to comparators. For example, Nigeria’s size and growth in Tanzania and Ethiopia stand out, as do Ethiopia’s low labour costs, Rwanda’s investment climate and Ghanaian skills. The paper concludes that while some are positioned better than others, all of the countries we examined will need to improve in several areas if they are going to attract high levels of investment into export-based manufacturing sectors. African countries should act to take advantage of recent trends such as African regional growth and rising wages in Asia.

View online/download
External Link

Synthesis of seven country case studies: strengthening coherence between agriculture and social protection

Agriculture and social protection can complement and support each other in reducing hunger and poverty. On the one hand, agricultural interventions can promote growth in smallholder productivity by addressing structural constraints that limit the access of poor households to land and water resources, inputs, financial services, advisory services and markets. On the other, social protection can provide liquidity and certainty for poor smallholders, allowing them to invest in agriculture, reallocate their labour to on-farm activities, invest in human capital development, increase participation in social networks (which constitute an important source of informal risk management) and better manage risks, thereby allowing them to engage in more profitable livelihood and agricultural activities. Coherence between agricultural development and social protection can be achieved by incorporating social protection objectives, such as risk reduction, in agricultural development and vice versa and by linking activities in the two sectors to create complementarities between programmes. Through the Protection to Production (PtoP) project, led by FAO and UNICEF, considerable evidence has been generated on the productive and economic impacts of social protection and its contribution to sustainable poverty reduction and economic growth in Africa. However, less is known on how to strengthen the links to agricultural development, including the opportunities for doing so and the challenges to be overcome. Case studies were carried out in seven countries across Africa (Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Zambia), Asia (Bangladesh) and Latin America (Mexico, Peru). The studies examined programme concepts and methods, coordination and outcomes. In most countries, two programmes from the agricultural sector and two from the social protection sector were observed.

View online/download
External Link

Projecting progress: the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean

This paper presents Latin America and the Caribbean’s (LAC) likely progress across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, if trends continue on their current trajectories. There are significant disparities across the globe in progress both between and within countries; LAC is no exception. There are a number of disparities across sub-regions and there are disparities within countries – ethnicity, for example, is a crucial factor in determining whether someone is likely to benefit from development gains. During the Millennium Development Goals era considerable gains were made in a number of countries in LAC. However, already strong outcomes in some areas compared with other developing regions will make continued progress towards the new goals difficult.

View online/download
External Link

Ghana's construction sector and youth employment

Ghana’s construction sector is a growth industry with potential to address youth unemployment. This paper identifies opportunities for young people to access jobs within the sector, as well as barriers preventing their participation. Low-cost housing is found to be the most promising sub-sector for young people to access employment. However, this requires government land and finance policies that create demand for and supply of affordable housing. Bottlenecks faced by young people in accessing jobs in construction include the quality of training, problems accessing land, and corruption and payment delays on government contracts. For young women, the fact that construction is considered ‘man’s work’ is a considerable additional barrier.

View online/download
External Link

A thirsty future: water strategies for Ethiopia's new development era

This report discusses the costs and benefits of investments in water resources management to sustain Ethiopia’s economic growth, while ensuring that no-one is left behind. Our research shows that investments in infrastructure development to harness the potential of water resources and mitigate against climate risks need to go hand in hand with investments in institutions, the rules of the game, that set out the terms and conditions under which different groups can access and use water. Water scarcity resulting from over-exploitation and pollution risks otherwise reducing the profitability of investments and leading to competition between sectors and users, as it is the case in the Awash River Basin. Only with better, sustainable and inclusive water resources management can Ethiopia can continue to harness its water for the new development era.

View online/download
External Link

Women on the move: migration, gender equality and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This brief presents an overview and analysis of the opportunities, risks and vulnerabilities for women migrants and refugees. It describes the realities of women migrating around the world, specifically the experiences of both high-skilled and low-skilled migrant workers employed in a range of ‘care’ professions, from domestic workers to nurses and doctors.

View online/download
External Link

Health, migration and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This briefing presents an overview of how international migration can have an impact on the sustainable development goal for health and well-being. It describes the health needs and health service delivery for migrants and refugees in different settings and highlights the ways they may be excluded in national policies relating to health and from specific policies that work towards achieving the Agenda 2030 on sustainable development.

View online/download
External Link

Ensuring escapes from poverty are sustained in Uganda

Since the early 1990s, Uganda has experienced substantial reductions in poverty. Using the national poverty line, the poverty headcount has declined from 56 percent in 1992/93 to just over 20 percent in 2012/13’. Economic growth, the end of conflict, and sound macroeconomic management have all contributed strongly to this success. However, as people have moved out of poverty, the number of people living at a level less than twice the poverty line—termed the ‘insecure non-poor’ in the Ugandan context—has risen. In 2012/2013, as many as 14.7 million people were ‘insecure non-poor’ meaning they were extremely vulnerable to falling into poverty in the event of shocks or stressors, such as drought or an episode of ill-health. This report combines analysis of UNPS data with qualitative research approaches; key informant interviews, life histories and participatory wealth ranking to investigate further the drivers of transitory escapes. Specifically, it examines why some households are able to escape poverty and remain out of it—that is, they experience sustained escapes from poverty—while others escape poverty only to return to living in it again in the future. The report investigates the resources (land, livestock, and value of assets), attributes (household composition, and education level) and activities (including jobs, and engagement in non-farm enterprises) of households which enable them to escape poverty sustainably and minimize the likelihood return to poverty.

View online/download
External Link


Suggest a publication

Feel free to submit a publication.

Submit here