According to the United Nations, the least developed countries (LDC) group is comprised of 48 countries characterized by widespread poverty, broad structural weaknesses and geographical handicaps. These problems are particularly difficult for Africa given that 33 of the 49 countries are located there. Between 2005 and 2015, Africa’s share of global poverty is expected to more than double from 28 to 60 percent.
According to the U.S. government, addressing global poverty in the least developed countries is vital to U.S. national security and is a strategic, economic and moral imperative for the United States. With the United Nations hosting the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries in May, the international community is working closely with the U.S. to adopt new measures and strategies for the sustainable development in the LDCs for the next decade.
On February 22, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings, InterAction and the Center of Concern will co-host a discussion on U.S. and global policy on the least developed countries with a particular focus on LDCs in Africa. Panelists include: Cheick Sidi Diarra, secretary general of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the LDCs; Dr. Arjun Karki, international coordinator of LDC-Watch and chair and spokesperson of UN LDC IV Civil Society Forum; Steve Radelet, Chief Economist of USAID; and Brookings Fellow Laurence Chandy.
Senior Fellow Mwangi Kimenyi, director of the Africa Growth Initiative, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion. After the program, the panelists will take audience questions.