Who are LDCs?

Least Developed Countries or LDCs are those countries which are below the threshold of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, Human assets Index (HAI) and Economic vulnerability index (EVI) set by the United Nations. LDCs are usually low-income countries confronting severe structural impediments to sustainable development.

When the LDC Group was created?

The first group of LDCs was listed by the United Nations in its resolution 2768 (XXVI) of 18 November 1971.

How many LDCs are there?

Currently, there are 46 countries on the list of LDCs.


When Bangladesh was first listed as an LDC?

Bangladesh was first listed as an LDC back in 1975.

What are the criteria for identification of LDCs?

The identification of LDCs is currently based on three criteria:
(a) GNI per capita
(b) Human Assets Index (HAI)
(c) Economic and Environmental Vulnerability Index (EVI)


How a country can be eligible for graduation?

To be eligible for graduation, a country must meet graduation thresholds for at least two of the aforementioned three criteria, or its GNI per capita must exceed at least twice the threshold level.

To be recommended for graduation, a country must be found eligible at two successive triennial
reviews by the CDP.

The Committee for Development Policy (CDP), a subsidiary body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is mandated to review the category of LDCs every three years and monitor their progress after graduation from the category.

How many countries have graduated so far?

So far, six five countries have graduated from LDC status:

  • Botswana (1994)
  • Cabo Verde (2007)
  • The Maldives (2011)
  • Samoa (2014)
  • Equatorial Guinea (2017)
  • Vanuatu (2020)
How Bangladesh met the graduation criteria?

Under the visionary leadership of the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in various socio-economic parameters during the last one and a half decades. Consequently, the country met all the graduation criteria from the LDC status in 2018 and 2021 reviews.  As a result, UN-CDP recommended Bangladesh for graduation with a five-year preparatory period on 26 February 2021. The recommendation was duly endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on 08 June 2021. Subsequently, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) took note of Bangladesh’s graduation recommendation during its 76th session held in November 2021.

Bangladesh’s scores in different criteria for two consecutive reviews are furnished below:

Criteria Threshold for 2018 Review Bangladesh’s Scores (2018) Threshold for 2021 Review Bangladesh’s Scores (2021)
GNI Per Capita* 1230 US$ or more 1274 US$ 1222 US$ or more 1827 US$
Human Assets Index 66 or more 73.2 66 or more 75.4
Economic and Environmental Vulnerability Index 32 or less 25.2 32 or less 27.0

*Average of last three years (calculated by ATLAS method)

What are the Differences Between LDC and Middle-Income Country Categories?




Classification  authority UN Classification  Single category World Bank Classification – two classes under  middle income- lower middle income  & upper middle income
Purpose To attract special support measures from international  community; preferential treatment in WTO etc. Make lending decisions; benefits provided in terms  of lower interest rates; debt relief; etc.
Basis for  taxonomy 3 criteria- 14 different structural indicators and an  indicator for income Income in WB Atlas method (LMIC: $1,036-

$4,045; UMIC: $4,046-$12,5355) 1 July 2020

Cap on  Population Additional criteria included in 1991; Population must be  less than 75 million No cap
Process of exit Long. Minimum 6 years from meeting the criteria Short. Changes every year
Decision  regarding  inclusion and  graduation Once recommended for inclusion, countries decide  whether to accept the LDC status or not

Once recommended for graduation, countries have no  choice but to graduate

Countries bound to accept whatever classification  is assigned to them
What’s next for Bangladesh?

Bangladesh is now set to leave the list of LDCs on 24 November 2026 after enjoying a preparatory period of five years. UN-CDP will further analyze the country’s situation at its 2024 triennial review if extension of preparatory is needed.

What would happen after Bangladesh graduates?

Graduation from LDC status may result in:

  • Better country image, self-reliance and self-dignity at the global stage
  • Better credit rating for the country and wider credit access to the global financial market
  • Greater investment opportunities including increased foreign direct investment and greater access to non-traditional financing
  • Greater access to global job market
  • Greater voice in the regional and global decision making
How Bangladesh is preparing for graduation?

The Government of Bangladesh is attaching highest priority to ensure smooth and sustainable graduation with momentum.  As part of this process:

  • A National Committee on LDC Graduation (NCG) headed by the Principal Secretary to the Hon’ble Prime Minister has been formed. All the relevant Ministries and organizations both from public and private sectors are the members of NCG.
  • Seven thematic subcommittees have been formed under the guidance of the NCG to address various core issues related to graduation including: preferential market access & trade agreement; Intellectual Property Rights (IPR); WTO issues (other than market access & trips); investment, domestic market development & export diversification; internal resource mobilization & tariff rationalization; smooth transition strategy; and branding Bangladesh abroad.
  • Economic Relations Division (ERD) has undertaken a project called “Support to Sustainable Graduation Project (SSGP)” to identify the impacts of graduation, to provide necessary capacity-building supports and other necessary supports to the relevant ministries and other stakeholders as well as to promulgate this historic achievement at home and abroad by producing various research papers and publications related to graduation.
  • It is recommended by the United Nations that a graduating LDC should prepare a national Smooth Transition Strategy (STS) during the preparatory period in cooperation with its development and trading partners and with targeted assistance from the UN system. The 9-member Subcommittee on STS led by the Secretary ERD and co-led by the Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office is tasked with the formulation of the STS.
  • A ‘Working Group’ comprising the officials from relevant ministries and private sector, and a ‘Joint Task Team’ comprising representatives from government, private sector and development partners are working to support the Subcommittee on STS in preparing an effective and inclusive transition strategy for sustainable graduation.
  • Bangladesh, along with the LDC Group, has submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the continuation of the existing LDC-specific International Support Measures (ISMs) for a certain period after LDC graduation.
  • The Government is carrying out in-depth sectoral studies, research works and technical papers to assess the impact of LDC graduation and to formulate the relevant strategies accordingly.
  • Bangladesh is carrying out regular dialogue and knowledge sharing through the UN and other international platforms regarding sustainable LDC graduation issues with other graduating LDCs of the Asian region, e.g.- Nepal and Lao PDR.
  • Building on the success of implementing Istanbul Program of Action (IPoA) Bangladesh is committed to implement the Doha Program of Action (DPoA). A National Action Plan for implementing the DPoA has been prepared. A high-powered committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary is monitoring the implementation of DPoA.

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