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UN OKS ‘LEAST DEVELOPED’ EXTENSION FOR SAMOA Designation qualifies for low-interest loans

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, June 20, 2010) – Samoa will not graduate from it status as Least Developed Country next year as scheduled.

[PIR editor’s note: Least developed country (LDC) is a United Nations classification of countries with a low level of economic development, as indicated by per capita income, poor health and nutrition, and other factors. Samoa is among five Pacific nations with the designation, including Kiribati, American Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. ]

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi confirmed this on Friday.

Samoa was to leave the Least Developed Country ranks in 2011 – and become a Developing Country.

But the tsunami of September last year caused a delay, Tuilaepa said.

"We need to postpone the time because of some areas needed to be developed after the tsunami," he said in a press conference.

This is a positive for Samoa because it allows loans at low interest, he said.

Tuilaepa revealed it appears Samoa will officially become a Developing Country in 2012 or 2013 depending on the outcome of post-tsunami recovery work.

The Prime Minister is not in favour of Samoa losing its LDC status.

In 2003 the United Nations recommended Samoa be upgraded to Developing Country status.

Samoa disagreed and asked for a review.

Tuilaepa also in the past has asked that the vulnerability of Samoa to natural disasters be taken into consideration.

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