Ahead of the first global sustainable transport conference to be held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, next month, transport ministers from 32 landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) met in La Paz, Bolivia to assess the progress in achieving sustainable transport.
The recommendations from the meeting that was chaired by Bolivian President Evo Morales are expected to be accepted at a two-day meet in Turkmenistan — November 26-27 — where an Indian delegation will be participating.
India has implemented a number of measures to facilitate trade, including unilateral concessions for LLDCs, and is working on a number of infrastructure projects to build roads, rail connections, and to build power plants to generate and share electricity etc.
LLDCs, being further away from the sea, face problems like high transportation, travelling and trading costs, customs bottlenecks and often enormous delays. These are due to a lack of effective transportation mechanism, inadequate physical infrastructure, etc, which doubles the trade and transit cost faced by these countries adding to their comparative disadvantage globally, making them relatively less competitive.
The transport ministers of the LLDCs, including from Africa, Latin America and Asia at the meeting in Bolivia, talked about efficient, reliable and sustainable transport systems that can be reinforced for landlocked developing countries which are often long distances from the sea and face disproportionately high transport and transaction costs.
A senior MEA official told FE: “India believes that for an equitable, balanced and sustainable global growth, it is a must that the fruits of development and progress be shared with others. It is with this belief that India has been extending its steadfast support to strengthen the development process of LLDCs.”
“While India has a coastline of over 7,500 km, we are a large country with areas that are quite remote and not very well connected. We are conscious of the many disadvantages of remoteness and the additional costs and hardships that it can entail for the people inhabiting such areas. And are therefore, deeply sensitive to the unique challenges faced by the landlocked developing countries on account of their geography,” the official added.
Over the years, India’s Line of Credit (LoC) programme has provided finance across Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia and LoCs have constantly evolved as a tool.
Says Ram Upendra Das, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), “Owing to their geographical location the LLDCs face high transport and trading cost which makes the trade (both export and import) difficult. This is highlighted from the fact that the LLDC’s share in total global exports is less than 1% (2015), and trade as we know, addresses the problem of demand-supply gap which could be addressed through better connectivity.”