The least developed countries (LDCs) – nations categorized as requiring special attention from the international community – will fall short of goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development unless urgent action is taken, new United Nations analysis has revealed.

The analysis by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also highlights that LDC growth averaged five per cent in 2017 and will reach 5.4 per cent in 2018, below the seven per cent growth envisaged by Target One of Sustainable Development Goal 8 on promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

In 2017, only five LDCs achieved economic growth of seven per cent or higher: Ethiopia at 8.5 per cent, Nepal at 7.5 per cent, Myanmar at 7.2 per cent, Bangladesh at 7.1 per cent, and Djibouti at seven per cent.

"The international community should strengthen its support to LDCs in line with the commitment to leave no one behind," Paul Akiwumi, Director of UNCTAD's Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, Mr. Akiwumi said.

"With the global economic recovery remaining tepid, development partners face constraints in extending support to LDCs to help them meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Inequalities between the LDCs and other developing countries risk widening," he said.

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