Although globalization carries with it enormous benefits for least developed nations, growing disparities in the standard of living and level of human security are driving workers from the world’s poorest countries across borders in search of better opportunities, the United Nations representative for least developed countries has said.
“Globalization has opened unprecedented opportunities for the free flow of capital, goods, services, information, skills and technology and offered new perspectives for integration of developing countries, especially the least developed countries (LDCs), in the world economy,” Anwarul Chowdhury, the High Representative for LDCs, Land-Locked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, told the General Assembly’s Economic and Financial Committee on Thursday.
African countries – which make up the majority of all LDCs – lose 20,000 skilled workers to the developed world every year, he said.
And although ‘brain drain’ is having a negative impact on LDC growth, migrant workers bring back knowledge and technology which can boost productivity in countries of origin, Mr. Chowdhury added.
Migrant workers are also a big source of foreign remittances, which are “the largest, as well as a very predictable and stable source of financing for many poor countries,” are second only to foreign direct investment, and by far exceed official development assistance, Mr. Chowdhury said.
Reducing remittance transfer costs and enhancing the use of remittances for development purposes would be discussed in detail at the forthcoming Ministerial Conference for LDCs in Benin in early 2006, he said.
At the same time, he emphasized the need for development partners to support the integration of LDCs into the global economy as outlined in the Brussels Programme of Action adopted in 2001. That plan calls for LDCs to participate in international economic decision-making processes, multilateral policy-making, and regulatory issues affecting development.