Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Least-Developed Nations Need Digital Tech to Counter Crises Like Pandemic

Structural weaknesses in these countries make them vulnerable to shocks like pandemic, climate change and food and energy crises
April 30, 2022

Structural weaknesses in the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have made them more vulnerable to shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the current food and energy crises, and the situation could worsen if they do not fully participate in global recovery efforts, says the United Nations’ new report.

Published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on April 27, Present and Future of Work in the Least Developed Countries gives an overview of progress and challenges these nations face in terms of structural transformation, a just transition to greener economies, and creation of full and productive employment.

Underlining the enormous pressure on LDCs, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said, “With the right employment and macroeconomic policy measures, new jobs can be created in both existing and new sectors, along with enhanced productivity and innovation driven by investments in green and digital economic opportunities.”

The report examines how digital technologies can deliver huge benefits to these countries, if investments are made in capital, skills and knowledge, to support inclusive, decent work.

Several Vulnerabilities

The 46 nations covered in the report represent 12 per cent of the world’s population and are characterised by low-income levels, vulnerability to economic and environmental shocks, diminished levels of well-being, extreme poverty and high mortality rates.

Their vulnerabilities are largely the result of weak productive capacities associated with inadequate infrastructure, as well as limited access to technologies, said the report.

Weak institutions, including those relating to work and social protection, are also a factor, while informal employment with no social safety net, is pervasive, representing almost 90 per cent of jobs, it added.

The report contains several policy recommendations that promote “human-centred recovery” that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient. These measures include expanding international assistance and cooperation to strengthen health care and vaccines, and to avoid unnecessary restrictions and barriers to trade and migration. It also called for strengthening institutions of work and building capacities to enable fundamental rights, such as freedom of association and collective bargaining, with active engagement of social partners.

According to the report, the policy focus would create a virtuous circle that improves trust in government, facilitates a progressive shift to high value-added and environmentally sustainable activities, help reduce poverty and inequality and contribute to social justice.