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UN says jobs key for world’s 49 poorest countries

November 20, 2013

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The population in the world’s 49 poorest countries is projected to double to 1.7 billion by 2050 and job creation will be crucial to prevent increasing poverty, social unrest and mass international emigration, according to a new report launched Wednesday.

The Least Developed Countries Report 2013 urges these countries to take action to upgrade infrastructure, greatly expand credit, improve education and spur domestic firms and entrepreneurs to create new jobs.

According to the report by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, strongly increasing investment and improving services such as transportation and electricity supply will increase the value and variety of the goods and services produced by these impoverished countries which is vital to helping these 49 impoverished countries create a total of 16 million new jobs needed every year.

The report notes that job creation was disappointing even during the “boom” years from 2002 to 2008 when the economies of the least developed countries or LDCs, averaged an economic growth rate of 8 percent per year. From 2000 to 2012, employment growth in the LDCs averaged 2.9 percent per year, it said.

“The growth we have seen in LDCs in the last couple of decades is a jobless growth,” Mussie Delelegn, head of UNCTAD’s New York office told a news conference launching the report. “Consequently what we see is the bulging demographic trends, we see persistent poverty ... accelerated urbanization and rising inequalities.”

The report said LDCs face “a stark demographic challenge:” The population of 858 million in 2011 is projected to double to 1.7 billion by 2050, and the population aged 15 to 24 is expected to soar from 168 million in 2010 to 300 million by 2050.