This article reviews the progress of least developed countries (LDCs) towards LDC graduation and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It shows that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) could contribute to filling the financing gap and speed up progress. LDCs are defined as low-income countries with structural handicaps to achieving sustainable development. The comparison between SDG monitoring indicators and LDC identification indicators shows that progress towards the SDGs and towards the graduation from the LDC category are in general heading in the same direction. Estimates show that, under the business-as-usual scenario, only about half of LDCs could become eligible for graduation by 2030, while at the same time remaining a long way from the SDGs. There remains a significant financing gap which calls for additional cooperation initiatives, and the BRI to provide critical and necessary enabling conditions in this area.
Volume 50 Number 4
Published: December 19, 2019