Free Essay: Challenges Facing Landlocked Developing Countries
Despite the technological and infrastructure advancements that developing countries enjoy, some that are landlocked still face quite a number of challenges. In most occasions, the poor economic performance is blamed on their geographical distance from the coast. However, it should be noted that the situation is quite complex. The challenges that landlocked developing countries face are much more elaborate and comprise of quite a number of issues to be addressed.
Generally, landlocked developing countries are challenged when it comes to opportunities for external trade and human development. It is believed that the exports of almost all landlocked developing countries are between twelve to seventy percent less compared to their maritime counterparts. Based on a report known as the Human Development Report (HDR) 2000, about nine of the twelve countries that have got the least human development index are landlocked. Even their average GDP per capita is about 45% lower. This points out to a worrying economic performance in landlocked developing countries.
The relatively poor performance of landlocked countries is mainly related to their dependence on the transit routes of other countries in order to access overseas markets. This goes a long way in hamspering trading activities. As a result of the dependence on other countries’ ports, developing landlocked countries suffer direct costs on trading activities, especially if the infrastructures of the transit countries are weak as a result of inadequate resources, conflicts, natural disasters or even poor governance.
Another challenge that landlocked developing countries are faced with is that they have to constantly ensure harmonious political relationship with transit countries even if it means hampering their own. The reason for this is because in case of any disagreement between the two, whether diplomatic or military, it is much easier for the transit country to block the border and cause an obstruction to trade. With this, the landlocked country will be kept out of trade in the overseas market, thus, economic downturn.
High administrative costs are also part of the challenges that landlocked developing countries are faced with. Since landlocked countries use other countries’ ports and borders to move their goods, there is a great deal of paperwork that is required. The situation even gets more hectic when bureaucratic procedures also crop in. When all these are brought together, the cost of shipping is set quite high for the developing landlocked countries.
Vulnerability to civil conflicts in transit countries is yet another challenge that is faced by developing landlocked countries. Civil uprisings are a common occurrence in developing countries and most of them are very unpredictable. Whenever there is an outbreak of a civil conflict in the transit countries, there are higher chances that transit routes can be damaged or blocked. As a result of this, transit can be halted or even the trade corridors rerouted and this can have dire consequences on trade to landlocked developing countries. The problem can even be magnified when the insurgents taking part in the civil conflict turn their anger and carry out attacks on people and goods on transit.
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