A UNCTAD report, “The State of Commodity Dependence 2016”, which was launched today highlights that between 2010-2015 developing countries saw their revenue from commodity exports jump 25% to US$ 2.55 trillion.

UNCTAD presented the report at the ninth session of the multi-year expert meeting on commodities and development, convening in Geneva on 12 and 13 October 2017.

According to the report, commodity dependence can negatively affect human development indicators like life expectancy, education, and per capita income, and about two thirds of commodity-dependent developing countries recorded a low or medium human development index in 2014-2015.

“In the context of dramatic volatility in commodity prices, developing countries will struggle to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals unless they break the chains of commodity dependence,” said Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, UNCTAD, ahead of the report’s release.

“Many developing countries have been commodity-dependent for the past three decades, and it is worrying to see that the numbers are going up,” Kituyi added.

UNCTAD defines a country as dependent on commodities when these account for more than 60% of its total merchandise exports in value terms.

The report noted the rise in commodity dependence was most noticeable in Africa, where seven new countries entered the category in 2014-2015, bringing the total to 46 countries.

Regarding the type of exports 30% of African countries depended on fuel exports and 23% on minerals, ores and metals.

“The negative relationship between commodity dependence and human development is stronger for dependence on import commodities than for dependence on export commodities, in particular for food and fuel import dependence.”


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