Work on Landlocked Developing Countries

Landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) face special trade and development challenges, arising from their lack of territorial access to the sea and geographical remoteness from international markets.

Exports and imports of LLDCs are required to transit through at least one neighboring State, and often have to change the mode of transport frequently. This substantially increases the cost of trade for LLDCs and is a key factor in preventing their effective integration into the global trading system.

The geographical challenges of LLDCs are often compounded by weak transit-transport infrastructure, inefficient customs operations, and over-dependence on the experts of primary commodities.

In recognition of the special development needs of LLDCs, the international community adopted the Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA) for these countries for the decade 2014-2024. The overarching goal of the VPoA is to help the LLDCs achieve sustainable and inclusive growth and to eradicate poverty.

The work of UNCTAD on LLDCs aims to contribute to the effective implementation of the priorities agreed in the Vienna Programme of Action, and to assist LLDCs in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

At present, 32 countries belong to the Group of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs): 16 are located in Africa, 12 in Asia, 2 in Latin America and 2 in Central and Eastern Europe.


Current work on landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) includes:

  • Identifying growth opportunities and supporting measures to help LLDCs to harness the potential of their natural resources for economic diversification, including by facilitating their participation in regional and global commodity value chains.

  • Identifying indictors to measure and benchmark productive capacities in LLDCs to help them to formulate policies that place productive capacities at the center.

  • Undertaking policy-focused studies at the request of LLDCs to seek alternative approaches to trade and development.

  • Providing advisory services on policies and strategies aimed at fostering productive capacities and structural economic transformation.

UNCTAD also assisted several countries in export diversification with a focus on horticulture, mining and fisheries.