The Least Developed Countries Report 2002 is in two parts. The first part reviews recent economic trends and assesses the progress in the 1990s towards fulfillment of development targets contained in the Programme of Action adopted by the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries. The second part, on escaping the poverty trap, is the first analysis of poverty in all the LDCs. It is based on a new set of poverty estimates for LDCs that suggest that extreme poverty may have been under-estimated in the poorest countries, particularly in Africa, and over-estimated in other countries. The Report examines the reasons why extreme poverty is pervasive and persistent in most LDCs, and the implications for the design of poverty reduction strategies and international policy. An important discovery of the Report is the close link between primary commodity dependence and extreme poverty.