Middle income countries (MICs) face an intractable identity problem: what exactly is a “middle income country”? This categorization focuses on income per capita as the main factor for defining groups of countries and for allocating the financial resources for development cooperation. Classifying countries this way ties in with the development narrative that countries take responsibility for their own development once they “graduate” from low income status. The problem is that the income boundaries between groups of countries are defined inconsistently across development institutions and are unidimensional, failing to account for multidimensional poverty, complex economic and social inequalities, and for the fact that many countries graduate to “middle income” status only to slip back into a “lower income” group once official development assistance (ODA) is taken away. This last phenomenon reveals that “graduation” may reflect only marginal changes in economic conditions and not genuine economic transformation.
To address this growing concern, FES organized a workshop on May 9, 2017 to help MICs prepare for the 2017 Financing for Development Forum.
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