Minding the trade gap: What lies ahead for Least Developed Countries

In the last two decades, there has been a boom in world trade driven by large reductions in trade barriers and unprecedented interlinkages among countries, and South-South trade has grown. Yet the world's poorest nations, designated Least Developed Countries (LDCs), engage in less than 1% of global trade while home to 13% of the world’s population. It is clear LDCs are facing barriers that hamper their ability to trade – barriers that include entry to international markets, support to the domestic private sector, and how to best seek out new regional and global opportunities.

The opening plenary of the EIF Global Forum brought together world leaders to initiate an urgent call to action to leverage trade to combat poverty and inequality, with speakers pointing to the growing trade gap with LDCs, addressing the key obstacles LDCs are facing in the world today, and paving the way forward.


  • Sarah Beeching


  • Roberto Azêvedo (video address)
  • Julian Braithwaite
  • Hassan Come
  • Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang
  • Mukhisa Kituyi