Landlocked countries have no territorial access to the seas, limited border crossings and transit dependence.
Due to their remoteness, landlocked countries are dependent on neighbouring transit countries for their external trade and suffer from high trade transaction costs. Huge transport costs, inadequate infrastructure and bottlenecks associated with importation and exportation requirements can be a serious stumbling block to their integration into the global economy, impairing export competitiveness or the inflow of foreign investment.
There are 31 landlocked developing countries(LLDCs) world-wide: 15 are located in Africa, 12 in Asia, 2 in Latin America and 2 in Central and Eastern Europe. According to the World Bank (1999), LLDCs are paying around 50 percent more in transport costs than coastal countries, and have up to 60 percent lower volumes of trade. Inefficient customs and transit transport procedures are considered to be the main cause of delays and high transport costs and represent a greater obstacle to trade for LLDCs than tariffs.
As a result of the LLDCs marginalization in global trade, the amount contributed by LLDCs to developing countries’ share of global exports has exhibited a consistent decline. Their proportion of developing country exports has fallen from an already small portion of 2.4 percent in 1990 to only 2 percent in 2000, representing a yearly decrease of 2.1 percent. In contrast, the share accounted for by transit developing countries rose from 53 percent to 60 per cent, which was an annual increase of 1.1 percent. This trend attests to the marginalization of LLDCs that has been taking place in the world economy.
The International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in August 2003, in order to address the challenges of LLDCs. As a result, the ministers of 30 LLDCs adopted the Almaty Programme of Action (PDF): Addressing the Special Needs of Landlocked Developing Countries within a New Global Framework For Transit Transport Cooperation for Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and the Almaty Ministerial Declaration.
Where to Start
- The Almaty Agenda (PDF)
- Landlocked Developing Countries: Facts and Figures 2006
- Landlocked Countries: Opportunities, Challenges and Recommendations
- Infrastructure Development in Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries: Foreign Aid, Private Investment and the Transport Cost of Landlocked Devloping Countries (PDF)
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