North Korea’s economy grew, albeit slightly, last year for the first time in three years, as agricultural production jumped thanks to favorable weather and increased use of fertilizer, South Korea’s central bank said on Sunday.
Real gross domestic product in the impoverished country increased 0.8 per cent in 2011 as the agricultural sector expanded by 5.3 per cent while construction jumped 3.9 per cent on the back of Pyongyang’s homebuilding projects, according to the Bank of Korea.
However, North Korea remains one of the world’s poorest and most closed states, dependent on foreign aid to feed its 24m people. Due to economic mismanagement and frequent natural disasters, North Korea still suffers from chronic food shortages affecting two-thirds of the population, according to the UN.
The nominal size of the North Korean economy was estimated at Won32.4tn ($244bn) last year, or less than 3 per cent of its southern counterpart’s, while its per-capita income stood at only Won1.3m, or less than $1,200, compared with South Korea’s Won24.9m.
Pyongyang does not issue any economic data but the BoK estimates, based on data gathered by related South Korean institutions, provide a glimpse of the isolated economy.Page 1 of 3 | Next Page