More countries dependent on commodities, says UN

13 de outubro de 2017

São Paulo – The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said this Friday (13) that over the last few years, developing countries became more dependent on the export of commodities, or internationally traded staples. As per its The State of Commodity Dependence Report, 91 out of 135 developing nations rely on foreign sales of staples. Nine countries were added to the list between 2010 and 2015.

Over that same timeframe, the value of commodity exports by developing countries widened by 25% to USD 2.55 trillion. The nations that joined the ranks of the commodity-dependent were the Comoros, Eritrea, Madagascar, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sudan, Cape Verde, Liberia, Suriname, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Tuvalu, while Indonesia and Nicaragua made it off the list.

UNCTAD ranks countries as being commodity-dependent if commodity exports account for more than 60% of export revenue. Brazil and 15 out of the 22 existing Arab countries fit the bill. Rates higher than 80% mean a country is “strongly commodity export- dependent.” Seven out of every ten countries on the UNCTAD’s list have this status.

The organization says dependency negatively affect human development indicators such as life expectancy, education and per capita income. According to the UNCTAD, two thirds of commodity-dependent countries have low or medium human development index scores.

“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,” an UNCTAD press release quoted its secretary-general Mukhisa Kituyi as saying. “Many developing countries have been commodity-dependent for the past three decades, and it is worrying to see that the numbers are going up,” he added.

Africa is where the most commodity-dependent countries are, followed by Asia and Oceania and then Latin America and the Caribbean. According to the UNCTAD, 41% of the countries on the list depend on agricultural exports, while 30% rely on fuel and 23% do on ores and metals.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum