LANDLOCKED Developing Countries are suffering from inherent lack of territorial access to the seas and has left more than 20 percent of the 450 million lives in the affected countries characterized by hunger, malnutrition, disease and poverty, President Edgar Lungu has observed.
President Lungu said it was regrettable that the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries had remained excluded from both regional and global trade with more than 20 percent of its population living below the poverty datum line.
President Lungu said global trade for the Landlocked Developing Countries was by the end of 2013 a paltry 1.2 percent while the countries were suffering diminished industrial production and value addition.
The Head of State said this yesterday at the high-level follow-up meeting to the second United Nations (UN) conference for Landlocked Developing Countries at Livingstone’s Chrismar Hotel.
President Lungu said the situation of the LDCs had the effect of increasing transaction costs for the imports and exports as compared to coastal neighbouring countries.
“The group of Landlocked Developing Countries faces various challenges, which are directly related to the inherent lack of territorial access to the seas. More than 20 percent of the 450 million people living in Landlocked Developing Countries live below the poverty datum line and their lives are characterized by hunger, malnutrition and disease. It is regrettable that the group of Landlocked Developing Countries, for a larger part remains excluded from both regional and global trade,” President Lungu said.
The Head of State stated that the year 2015 presented opportunities of efforts for the global community to eliminate poverty and ensure inclusive and sustainable development.
President Lungu stated that landlocked countries could not change their geographical positions but that their unwavering tenacity to confront their inherent challenges would propel the people into a trajectory of accelerated and sustainable development which could transform the lives of the people.
He said the Vienna programme of action for Landlocked Developing Countries was mooted so that the countries could have accelerated and sustainable development.
He said the landlocked countries should double their efforts towards improving trade competitiveness if the countries were to fully get integrated into the global trade and redefine their developmental paths as espoused in the Vienna programme of action.
“While recognizing that every country’s primary responsibility to determine its developmental agenda, the realisation of the benefits from the Vienna programme of Action will depend on how promptly our respective governments respond and mainstream the programme into national and sectorial development plans,” President Lungu said.
The Head of State said the Zambian Government in collaboration with its development partners had embarked projects of linking Zambia to the rest of the Sub-region through the development of the transport infrastructure.
President Lungu said his Government had commenced the implementation of the Link-Zambia 8000 Kilimetrs road project which was aimed at connecting Zambia internally and inter-linking the country to the existing transport corridors in the SADC region.
He said Zambia and her development partners had established transport corridors which included the Nacala Road Corridor which was linking the Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the Indian Ocean.
President Lungu said the Beira Road Corridor was linking Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to the Indian Ocean while the Lobito Road Corridor was connecting the country to the Atlantic Ocean through the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.
“The Walvis-Bay corridor is linking Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Atlantic Ocean through Namibia while as the Dar-es Salaam Road corridor and the Tazara Railway corridor is linking Zambia to the Indian Ocean through Tanzania,” President Lungu said.
The President implored the United Nations office for South-South Cooperation to fulfill its pledge and commitment to establish facility centres in a number of Landlocked Developing Countries for purposes of technology transfer.