A lack of territorial access to the sea, remoteness and isolation from world markets, additional border crossings, cumbersome transit procedures, inefficient logistics systems, weak institutions and poor infrastructure cause the LLDCs to incur substantially higher transport and other trade transaction costs when compared to coastal countries. These high costs present a tremendous trade-reducing effect that has a direct negative impact on economic growth and puts them at a disadvantage in fully harnessing their potential to support their sustainable development efforts. The Vienna Programme of Action for LLDCs for the Decade 2014-2024 (VPoA) aims to address the special needs and challenges of LLDCs stemming from landlockedness in a coherent manner, through the implementation of specific actions in six priority areas: fundamental transit policy issues, infrastructure development and maintenance, international trade and trade facilitation, regional integration and cooperation, structural economic transformation and means of implementation.


  • The average annual real growth rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the LLDCs has decreased from 5.5% in 2014 to 3.5% in 2015 and is estimated to have decreased further to 2.6% in 2016.

  • The average GDP per person living in an LLDC in 2015 was $4,770 (in constant 2011 US$), down from $5,714 in 2014. In 2010, it stood at $4,024. In 14 LLDCs the GDP per capita was below $ 2,500 in 2015.


  • In 2014, the average human development index for LLDCs was 0.56, with the highest in the group being 0.79 and the lowest being 0.35.

  • The share of women in national parliaments increased from 21.6% in 2010 to 26.0% in 2016.

  • The proportion of the population in LLDCs living below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day (in 2011 purchasing power parity prices) declined from 48.6% in 2002 to 30.5% in 2012.

  • The HIV incidence rate in LLDCs decreased from 2.13 per 1,000 uninfected people in 2000 to 0.84 in 2015.

  • Under-5 mortality rate for LLDCs declined from 139.7 per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 67.9 in 2015.


  • In 2015, trade as a percentage of GDP for the LLDCs was on average 69.5%.

  • The share of LLDC exports in global exports fell in 2015 to 0.97%, from an average of 1.21% between 2011 and 2014.

  • Total merchandise exports from LLDCs declined dramatically in 2015, by 30%, to US$ 160 billion. Merchandise imports to LLDCs also fell in 2015, reaching an estimated US$ 195 billion.

  • The export concentration ratio for LLDCs was 0.28 in 2015, exhibiting a greater export product concentration than their transit neighbours and developed countries.

  • In 2014, the average cost to export one container from an LLDC was US$ 3,444 and US$ 4,344 to import. Comparatively, transit countries faced much lower average costs for containers of US$ 1,301 to export and US$ 1,559 to import.

  • Full implementation of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation can reduce the time required to import by more than 1.5 days and the time to export by almost 2 days, representing a 47% and 91% reduction of the current world average.

  • Although the estimated average time that LLDCs take to import goods has decreased from 57 days in 2006 to 49 days in 2014 and to export from 48 to 41 days, that is still almost twice the time taken by transit countries.


  • The proportion of forest area to total land area for LLDCs dropped from 17.4% in 2000 to 16.4% in 2015.

  • An estimated 54% of LLDC land is classified as dryland, meaning that they are disproportionately affected by issues such as desertification, land degradation and drought. In 2010 at least 20% of the  population in 30 countries worldwide was estimated to be living on degraded land, of which 13 were LLDCs.


  • ODA to LLDCs totaled US$ 24.8 billion in 2015, representing a 5.3% increase in real terms over 2014.

  • Two countries continue to dominate, accounting for 30% of total ODA receipts to LLDCs.

  • ODA remained the main source of external financing, accounting for 10% or more of gross national income in 8 LLDCs in 2015.

  • Aid-for-trade disbursements to LLDCs amounted to US$ 6.3 billion in 2015, representing a 6.9% increase over 2014.


  • FDI flows to LLDCs amounted to $24.5 billion in 2015, falling by 18% since 2014 and by 33% since 2011. However, 59% of FDI inflows to LLDCs in 2015 went to only four countries.


  • In 2015 remittance flows to LLDCs fell by 15.5% to US$ 26.9 billion.


  • Only about one-third of roads in LLDCs are paved, with only five countries having greater than 50% of their roads paved.

  • Mobile phone subscriptions have grown substantially  in LLDCs over the last decade, from an average of 6.4 subscriptions per 100 people in 2003 to 86.9 in 2015.

  • The proportion of population having access to electricity in LLDCs was 55.5% on average in 2012,  with 9 countries having an access rate lower than 20%.

  • Access to the internet remains low with an average of only 27% of the LLDC population having access to the internet in 2015. However, there is a high level of disparity between LLDCs, with the highest recording 77 internet users out of 100 compared to 2.2 in the lowest.



  • LLDCs currently engage in an average of 4.4 Regional Trade Agreements per country, with the numbers of agreements ranging from 0 to 11 among the countries.

  • An average of 20.7 Bilateral Investment Treaties have been signed by LLDCs with the numbers ranging from 0 to 50 per country and an average of 14.8 treaties in force.

  • LLDCs have also signed on average 7.7 other international investment agreements.


View mode (click on the icon):    

Previous version: Landlocked Developing Countries – Factsheet 2013


  1. UN-OHRLLS. (2014). Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024. The United Nations General Assembly, A/CONF.225/L.1.
  2. UN General Assembly. (2016). Secretary-General Report on the Implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action. The United Nations General Assembly, A/71/313.
  3. FAO. FAOSTAT Database. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
  4. OECD. the International Development Statistics Databases. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
  5. UNCTAD. the Investment Policy Hub, International Investment Agreements Navigator. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
  6. UNCTAD. UNCTADStat Database. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
  7. UN DESA, UNCTAD, & United Nations regional commissions. (2017). World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017. The United Nations.
  8. UNDP. Human Development Reports. The United Nations Development Programme.
  9. World Bank. World Development Indicators. The World Bank Group.
  10. World Bank. Migration and Remittances Data. The World Bank Group.
  11. WTO. Regional Trade Agreements Information System (RTA-IS). The World Trade Organization.

Statistics presented are current as of February 2017.