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São Tomé and Príncipe Among 4 Nations to Graduate From Rank of Least Developed Countries

The tiny Central African Island nation, Sao Tome and Principe, is one of four nations that have been confirmed by the United Nations leave the rank of Least Developed Country (LDC), to Medium Developed Country (MDC).

Jose Ocampo, chairman, Committee for Development Policy (CDP) who revealed this recently listed other countries that will graduate from the LDC as Bhutan, Kiribati, and the Solomon Islands.

According to Ocampo, the four countries selected for upgrade by the (CDP), are the first to graduate, since the UN created the LDC category in 1971.

The CDP chair said the little-sized states earned the upgrade based on an increase in their national earning power, improved access to health care and education.

Diane Elson, a member of CDP and a professor at the University of Essex, says the announcement is good news for women in rural areas in the countries: “The success of the countries that are graduating reflects things like the improvement of the health and the education of the population, which extends to rural women, and the increase in incomes in the country, which extends to rural women.”

Using the Human Development Index, countries are categorized into three in terms of levels of their development: High Human Development (HHD) or High Developed Country (HDC), Medium Human Development (MHD) or Medium Developed Country (MDC) and List Human Developed (LHD) or List Developed Country (LDC).

The classification is done using three standards: health and education targets; economic vulnerability, and gross national income per capita.

Countries must meet two of the three criteria at two consecutive triennial reviews of the CDP to be looked at for graduation.

The Committee will forward its recommendations to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for endorsement, which will, in turn, send its decision up to the UN General Assembly for ratification. There are 47 countries in the LDC’s category, Nigeria inclusive. Thirty-three of the countries are in Africa, 12 are in Asia and the third country is in Central America.

Another African country, Angola; and another small state, Vanuatu are in line for graduation in three years.

Sao Tome and Principe; The oil-rich Island of 172,000, shares a disputed offshore area with Nigeria. Both countries signed a Joint Trade Authority treaty, to ensure equal development and exploitation of petroleum resources within the field.

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