This study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the special developmental challenges faced by the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and of possible ways to address them. It traces the 50-year long history of LDC category since its formal creation in 1971 and outlines various initiatives undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) as well as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to help and support LDC growth and development towards their graduation from the category.
It notes the very limited progress that has been made in that regard – only 6 LDCs have been able to graduate out of the category during this long period. This points to the need for deeper reflections and engagement to effectively address the root causes of LDC under-development and vulnerabilities. To that end, the study offers some recommendations for consideration at WTO MC12 and UN LDC-V.