The Pacific least developed countries (LDCs) are not industrialising. Most of the shift in economic output over the past 20 years has been toward services and away from agriculture. Almost all new jobs created have been in services. Economic progress, mostly via tourism, is vulnerable to global volatility such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Services are inherently less productive, as is agriculture. Trade liberalization has underdelivered and exports in three of the four regional LDCs have become less diversified since 2000. The traditional conception of structural transformation therefore appears inappropriate. This implies a need to think creatively about analysis and policies. New, context-sensitive ways of thinking about economic transformation must be conceptualized and enacted to promote the next phase of economic development.