Following several years of apparent resilience to the international economic and financial crisis, economic growth in the least developed countries (LDCs) has declined steeply since 2012, reaching a low of 3.6 per cent in 2015. This is the slowest pace of expansion this century, and far below the target rate of at least 7 per cent per annum recommended by the 2011 Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011–2020 (the so-called Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA)). Thirteen LDCs experienced a decline in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in 2015. This performance has been strongly influenced by the sharp decline in commodity prices, which has particularly affected African LDCs. Such weak economic growth is a serious obstacle to generating and mobilizing domestic resources for structural transformation and investment in the development of productive capacities. It also hampers progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This economic slowdown is likely to be reinforced by the current world economic climate, which remains lacklustre in its recovery.