World’s poorest countries ‘flat-lining’

Most of the world’s poorest countries got richer over the past decade but are falling further back in the global wealth ranks, a UN report said Tuesday.

At least 37 of the world’s poorest 48 nations have put on positive growth in the past decade, said the report by a group of nine “eminent persons,” including former World Bank chief James Wolfensohn and the former Mali president Alpha Oumar Konare.

But it added that the average per capita income in the poorest countries was 18 percent of the world average in 1971, but only 15 percent of that average in 2008.

The so-called Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which range from Afghanistan, Bhutan and Burma in Asia to Senegal and Zambia in Africa, now face a widening gap with the low and lower middle income countries which are keeping up with average world income levels.

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