Analysis by Development Monitor shows that the UK exported £2.5 billion of services – such as management consulting and financial services – to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in 2017, up from £2.0 billion in 2016. The UN defines LDCs as low-income countries that face severe impediments to sustainable development. The UK also imported £0.7bn worth of services from these countries in 2017, unchanged from 2016.
The value of UK services provided to LDCs was almost as much as the UK’s bilateral, country-specific aid spending on those countries, which amounted to £2.6bn in 2017.
Several LDCs spent more on UK services in 2017 than they received in UK bilateral aid, including:
- Afghanistan: UK service exports £241m, UK bilateral aid £227m
- Bangladesh: UK service exports £352m, UK bilateral aid £176m
- Mozambique: UK service exports £114m, UK bilateral aid £58m
- Zambia: UK service exports £72m, UK bilateral aid £53m.
The Solomon Islands spent the highest proportion of its income on UK services, worth 4.74% of their GDP in 2017, and equivalent to around half their spending on education.
On average LDCs spent a greater proportion of their national income on UK services than richer developing countries. In 2017, imports of UK services exports were on average worth:
- 0.31% of GDP for Least Developed Countries
- 0.12% of GDP for Upper Middle Income countries (such as Brazil and China)
More trends and analysis can be found on Development Monitor’s financial flows dashboard.