Helping least developed countries take the next step

Date: 
Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Worldwide | DESA

The Secretariat of the Committee for Development Policy has launched a new online tool - Gradjet.org - to help government officials in the least developed countries (LDCs) understand what it means to leave the LDC category and to plot a course for future action.

The website covers the 14 countries close to graduation or that have recently graduated. Users can select a country from a drop-down menu to reach a dedicated national page, which shows what happens before, during and after leaving the category.

Gradjet provides tailored contacts, information and suggestions about activities at each stage. Designated users can log in, save information to a ‘suitcase’, which acts as a repository of information, and download that information when needed.

During two years of wide-ranging international consultations for the website, many potential users said they wanted a tool which would easily let them save information as a Word file so that it could be converted into a government document such as a ministerial brief.

“Gradjet is a very informative and useful guiding tool to manage the graduation process. It is organised, simple and easy to follow,” says Pema Khandu of the Department of Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Bhutan.

The site has been developed as an increasing number of LDCs move closer to the graduation threshold. Five countries have so far left the category. Angola and Vanuatu will leave in 2021 and 2020. Three more -  Bhutan,  Sao Tome and Principe and Solomon islands - will leave the category from 2023-24. Several more, including Bangladesh and Lao PDR, are likely to leave the category around the same time.

After graduation, countries stand to lose international support measures like duty-free, quota-free access to foreign markets, certain forms of international financing, travel assistance and concessional terms for their contributions to UN budgets.

Some countries, like Bangladesh, are celebrating graduation as an important milestone in their development history.

“Gradjet adds important value for our [LDC graduation] preparations,” says Anwar Hussein of the Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh.

Hopefully, Gradjet will play a small part in helping governments take the next step.