World’s poorest countries must create more jobs or risk unrest, warns UN

November 25, 2013 • Daily Email Recap

World’s poorest countries must create more jobs or risk unrest, warns UN
Population boom and sprawling urbanisation mean the 49 poorest nations must achieve growth with jobs or face instability


The world’s poorest countries should make greater efforts to create well-paid jobs for the underemployed and those trapped in low-salaried work, or risk rising social or political instability, according to a UN report.

The 2013 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) report, Growth with employment for inclusive and sustainable development, published on Wednesday, says the 49 poorest countries face a stark demographic challenge, as their collective population – about 60% of which is under 25 – is projected to double to 1.7 billion by 2050. During the rest of this decade, these countries will have to create about 95m jobs to absorb new entrants to the labour market, and another 160m jobs in the 2020s.

A country is considered least developed when income per head is $992 a year. Most LDCs are in Africa (34) and include countries such as Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Niger. Asian LDCs include Bhutan, Timor-Leste and Yemen.

In an increasingly familiar argument, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) says economic growth that does not create enough decent jobs is unsustainable. From 2000 to 2012, LDC employment growth was 2.9% a year – slightly above the population growth rate of 2.3%, but well below LDCs’ average GDP growth rates for the period of 7%. In other words, LDCs experienced more than a decade of jobless growth.

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