The report states that the world economy expanded by just 2.2 per cent in 2016, the slowest rate of growth since the Great Recession of 2009. World gross product is projected to grow by 2.7 per cent in 2017 and 2.9 per cent in 2018, a slight downward revision from the forecasts made last May.

The moderate improvement expected for 2017/18 is more an indication of economic stabilization than a signal of a robust and sustained revival of global demand. As commodity prices trend higher, commodity-exporting economies are likely to see some recovery in growth.

The report projects that growth in the developed economies will slightly improve in 2017, but headwinds arising from weak investment and policy uncertainty continue to constrain economic activity.

GDP growth in the least developed countries (LDCs) is projected to remain well below the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of at least 7 per cent. This represents a key issue to address if the SDGs overall are to be attained. The report notes, specifically, that under the current growth trajectory and assuming no decline in income inequality, nearly 35 per cent of the population in LDCs may remain in extreme poverty by 2030.