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UN deputy chief calls for ‘courage, vision and solidarity’ to boost middle-income nations

In conclusion, Ms. Mohammed urged world leaders to unite and invest in hope, sustainable development, and a better future for all.However, their vulnerabilities persist regardless of income level, with 62 per cent of the world’s poor residing in MICs.“The achievement of our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) hinges, above all, on your progress and prosperity,” she said.“The obstacles that persist speak loud and clearly to the challenges middle-income countries face and the opportunities lost for growth, stability, and sustainable development,” she said.

A large and diverse group

Highlighting the diversity and challenges of these nations, Ms. Mohammed stressed the need for a “second generation” of solutions.She noted that recovery is lagging in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and MICs are suffering disproportionately from climate emergencies, conflicts and disasters, reversing years of development gains.Perhaps counter-intuitively due to the different classification metrics in use, the list includes 20 least developed countries (LDCs), 19 landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), and 29 small island developing States (SIDS).Secondly, she advocated for the reform of the international financial architecture, calling for changes that reflect the true economic weight and voices of middle-income countries.  

‘Second generation’ of solutions

The two-day conference was organized jointly by the Government of Morocco and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, under the theme “Solutions to Address Development Challenges of Middle-Income Countries in a Changing World”.She called for a substantial increase in development finance, recalling the UN Secretary-General’s SDG Stimulus plan calling for at least 0 billion annually for long-term development.Discussions focused on key themes for MICs, including South-South and triangular cooperation, climate and innovative financing, and the so called “middle-income trap” – an economic development situation in which a country that attains a certain income gets stuck at that level.

Potential for opportunities

She said existing frameworks fall short in meeting the complex needs of developing nations.“In an uncertain world with multiple and cascading global crises, flexibility, innovation, creativity, and global solidarity are needed to secure a sustainable future, not just for the few, but for the global community as a whole, especially for women and children,” she said.“While developed countries have been able to protect and swiftly support their populations, other countries have been left dependent on the international community and the existing global support systems.”Finally, she urged the adoption of measures of progress beyond GDP to better address the multidimensional nature of sustainable development.

Invest in hope and future

Speaking at a conference on addressing development challenges of middle-income countries (MICs), in Rabat, Morocco, Amina Mohammed said recent crises have laid bare inequalities and exposed stark contrasts.As a group, they account for nearly one-third of global gross domestic product (GDP) and serve as major engines of growth. They are home to around three quarters of the world’s population.MICs are a large and diverse group of over 100 countries. According to the World Bank their per capita incomes vary from ,000 to ,000.Despite the hurdles, the Deputy Secretary-General cited the potential for opportunities, provided there is “courage, vision, and solidarity to seize them”.


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