Disadvantages of Landlocked Countries
By admin November 5, 2014

MDG : LLDC : Central African Republic : Children IDPs


Landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) face particular challenges that limit their potential gains from trade, and restrict their resources for investing in development. There are 32 countries classified as landlocked developing, 16 of which are located in Africa, 10 in Asia, 4 in Europe and 2 in Latin America. Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, South Sudan, Central Africa Republic, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are in Africa and have no direct coastal access to the sea, the rest of the countries are spread throughout Latin America, Asia and Europe. Nine of the 15 countries with the lowest Human Development Index scores are landlocked. Lack of territorial access to the sea, remoteness and isolation from world markets and high transit costs continue to impose serious constraints on their overall socio-economic development. Their share of global trade is approximately1%. Life expectancy, in most cases, continues to lag behind neighboring coastal countries. The lack of access to the sea means it is far more expensive to import essential items and export goods. It is estimated that the basic trade costs of LLDCs are nearly twice those of neighboring countries with coastlines. On average, it costs $3,040 (£1,900) to export a standard container of cargo from a landlocked developing country, whereas a coastal neighbor spends about $1,268. Likewise, a country such as Burundi pays $3,643 to import a similar container of merchandise compared with $1,567 for its coastal neighbors in east Africa. Shoreless states often face the burden of dependence on their regional neighbors for trade and transport, which makes them vulnerable in times of natural disasters or regional conflict. While many landlocked states are under-developed and struggling with poverty, there are success stories such as Austria, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic which indicate that regional co-operation and barrier-free trade are essential.

The international community must aid the world’s landlocked developing countries (LLDC) in pursuing their goals for greater economic development to transition from being landlocked to “landlinked,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon advised today, noting that only through comprehensive improvements in trade would such nations be best prepared to tackle the post-2015 agenda. Stronger partnerships are needed on three levels. “First, between landlocked developing countries, transit countries and development partners. Second, through South-South cooperation with other developing States. And third, through international trade, investment and connectivity with the rest of the world.” A competitive private sector generates efficiency, higher productivity, foreign exchange earnings and incomes. “With structural transformation, LLDCs can export goods that are low bulk – so they take up less precious transport space or cost – with higher value,” Mr. Ban explained. “That makes good sense all around. It reduces transaction costs – and with the right approach, local production can also benefit the environment.” Distance alone cannot explain why LLDCs are at a disadvantage compared with equally remote, inland regions of large countries. Border crossings, cumbersome transit procedures, inefficient logistics systems and poor infrastructure substantially increase the cost of doing business. Engagement with the private sector is also essential, including through foreign direct investment and public-private partnerships. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated the importance of altering the structural outlook of the LLDCs, adding that such transformations made “the difference.”

“We can provide technical assistance, and help design public policies and enable all countries to exchange ideas. We are ready to work with LLDCs as well as donors, development finance institutions, businesses and other partners to achieve structural transformation. The LLDCs can count on the United Nations to transform their geographical disadvantages into platforms for great innovation and progress,” added Mr. Ban. In addition, he pointed out, structural transformation also moves goods and workers out of the informal economy and into the markets, creating better jobs, spreading knowledge and promoting competitiveness. The Second United Nations Conference on LLDCs is being held from November 3 to November 5 in Vienna, Austria. The conference’ participants which include government officials, international organizations and the private sector are expected to come up with a development agenda for the landlocked developing countries for the next decade. The Vienna conference is set to approve an action plan that would stress the need to provide adequate aid to the least developed countries in pursuing their goals for greater economic development to transition from being landlocked to what Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon termed “land-linked”. We should recognize the special needs of landlocked developing countries. Sustainable development of our global community cannot be achieved without taking into account the concerns and aspirations of vulnerable economies.


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