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The United Nations Conference on LDC III
Hosted by the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

The United Nations comes to Brussels
In 1997, the United Nations' General Assembly decided to convene the 3rd UN Conference on LDCs. UNCTAD became the focal point.

Talk about any UN Conference developments!

ICDA Interview with Dr.John Cuddy of UNCTAD, May 10 2001
EKB:I know that Ghana recently joined the HIPC initiative, which it had no reason to do. This was because apparently Japan decided to cancel loans to Ghana. On that basis, Ghana decided it would join the HIPC initiative, which caused some outrage. Just wondering about what you said -- that Ghana would probably join the LDC countries next year. Considering the (three) criteria given for LDCs, which specific one would you point to that would qualify Ghana as being part of the LDC?

CUDDY: You have to meet all of them. According to the Chairman of the Committee which deals with these things, Patrick Guimant (?), Ghana either has, or is on the verge of, meeting all those criteria, and therefore would become eligible for the group. As in the case of Senegal, I suppose the government will debate whether it wishes to join it or not.

EKB:My main query is that Ghana has been one of the countries that has seemed to improve not only its living conditions -- there are so many problems at the moment, but surely, with the elections that took place recently, the social stability has to be taken into question. In terms of democracy and social stability, Ghana does have that, so I was just wondering that isn't there a risk that once you start categorizing, once you start saying these particular countries fit this particular criteria, won't that start causing problems? As you said already with the G77 countries, they're having a problem that has caused a furore, because they feel that there'll be special preferences for the LDCs over so-called developing countries. As soon as they reach a particular categorary, do you not think there's a risk they'll be dumped straight into the dustbin of LDCs. Do you not think it's a problem?

CUDDY: I don't want to comment on a specific case of Ghana, which has had until quite recently, held up as an example of a successful country. But I think that the situation is purely an objective one ofcourse. The government can choose whether or not it wishes to join the group, and it will do that on the basis of a rather hard-headed calculation about the potential advantages it would receive from that. So, depending upon that decision, it will join, or will not join once its reached the objective criteria. That, I don't think puts it as a "basket case". Henry Kissinger famously -- or infamously -- in 1976, spoke of Bangladesh as a "basket case". Now, Bangladesh is rather successful nowadays, though its still in the LDC. So I think that all these things are relative . But what is the concern of some of the developing countries is that trade initiatives may help to put countries in a better position.

©Interview by E.K.Bensah, ICDA Secretariat, 2001

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Last Updated: Tuesday 15 May 2001 @ 15:28EST

Copyright ©E.K.BENSAH II PRODUCTIONS. 1998-2001