Only two countries in Africa, Angola and Equatorial Guinea, are expected to become ‘middle income’ countries in the next eight years, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has announced.
The information is contained in a report, ‘The Least Developed Countries Report 2016, titled ‘the path to graduation and beyond: making the most of the process’, that listed 13 developing nations expected to reach a middle income nation, and Uganda is not one them.
The report indicates that ‘a number of criteria were used to determine the findings by the UNCTAD, including the per capita incomes, human assets and economic vulnerabilities’.
According to the report, US$1035 (per capita of GNI) is considered for ‘possible cases of addition to the LDC list, and a threshold of $1,242 for cases of graduation from LDC status’.
‘The list of LDCs is reviewed every three years by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP), a group of independent experts reporting to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)’ the UNCTAD report indicates in part.
Further, the report adds: ‘A country will normally qualify for graduation from LDC status if it has met graduation thresholds under at least two of the three criteria in at least two consecutive triennial reviews of the list. However, if the three-year average per-capita GNI of an LDC has risen to a level at least double the graduation threshold, and if this performance is considered durable, the country will be deemed eligible for graduation regardless of its score under the other two criteria. This rule is commonly referred to as the “income-only” graduation rule’.
Previously, a couple of Ugandan government officials led by President Yoweri Museveni and Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda have said that Uganda will achieve middle income status by 2020, a development that puts their predictions at variance with the UNCTAD report.
Conversely, other officials including finance minister Matia Kasaija and the Chairman of the National Planning Authority (NPA) Dr. Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa have cast doubt on Uganda’s attainment of middle income status, citing several bottlenecks.
Currently, there are 48 countries in the world including Uganda that are categorized as LDCs, with 33 in Africa.
Others include Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Others are the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, the Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, the Sudan, Togo, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia.