The Issue of Landlocked Developing Countries

Landlocked countries are bordered by land or whose only coastlines are beside closed seas. Currently, there are forty-eight landlocked nations, out of which only two are outside of the Old World (Afro-Eurasia).

The Vienna Programme of Action of Landlocked Developing countries for the Decade 2014-2024 aims to support the world’s 32 landlocked developing countries in confronting trade development, remoteness and geographical isolation challenges. The framework of the programme revolves around six main pillars: “fundamental transit policy issues; infrastructure development and maintenance; international trade and trade facilitation; regional integration and cooperation; structural economic transformation; and means of implementation.”

Structurally, landlocked countries face a notable disadvantage when it comes to participation in global production networks and markets. The nations that are far from costal borders face high transport and transaction costs. Adding on to this problem is the fact that international trade abilities are a necessary trait for growth and expansion in developing countries. The share of landlocked developing countries’ global exports was only 1.2 per cent in 2014, as compared to 33 per cent for all developing nations exempting China.

           In terms of the Programme, it designates the six pillars as the solution to the growing disparity between landlocked countries and countries with open borders. The first objective would be to implement a travel system along corridors that would greatly reduce duration. Some possible solutions are one-stop border posts and reducing time spent at intermodal points. The second priority would be to develop transport infrastructure and conserving energy. The third is to focus on the priority area in terms of international trade facilitation. This step would need the harmonization of customs and reducing the time spent on documentation rather than actual trading. Following, priority number four is to deepen the relationship in regional areas for there to be smooth cooperation on a national level. The fifth pillar is to structurally transform landlocked developing countries’ economies so there can be sustained growth. The final pillar is the means of implementation. Logistically, the programme recognizes that the responsibility of development in a nation is on behalf of the nation itself. However, when countries are not able to grow due to factors outside of their control, such as land-locking, further steps of implementation and organization are necessary for global economic sustainability.

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