Ashot Markosian, D.Sc. (Econ.), Professor, Deputy Head of the Department of State Property Management under the Government of the Republic of Armenia (Erevan, Armenia)

Makar Petrosian, Ph.D. (Econ.), Executive Director of the MAP Joint-Stock Company (Erevan, Armenia)


There are many studies that show how a countrys production capacity greatly depends on its geographical location. Most economic production indices are characterized by a simple regressive dependence in production volume density (GDP per 1 sq. km) on geographic variables (average annual temperature, average annual amount of precipitation, altitude above sea level, ruggedness of landscape, soil categories, access to the sea, etc.).

Does this mean that geographic factors are determining the fate of a countrys development? If so, to what extent? If not, what measures should be taken to ensure long-term economic growth? We will try to shed light on these and other issues in this article.

Geographically Isolated Countries and Their Common Problems

It goes without saying that a countrys development strongly depends on its geographic location and natural specifics. For example, countries where agriculture thrives due to favorable natural and climatic conditions are able to produce surpluses that can be used to expand other spheres of activity (for example, farm produce can be used to obtain fuel), as well as for export, which consequently draws money into the economy.

Geographically isolated countries can be divided into two groupslandlocked countries and island countries.

There are 43 states today that do not have access to the World Ocean. Most of these countries are situated in Africa (15) and in Europe (14 states and 2 partially recognized countries); there are also 12 such states in Asia and two in South America.

Two of these states, Uzbekistan and Lichtenstein, border exclusively on landlocked countries. There are also states that are entirely surrounded by the territory of another country: San Marino and the Vatican by Italy and Lesotho by the Republic of South Africa.

Ethiopia, with its approximately 80 million residents, is the largest landlocked state in terms of population; it is followed by Uganda (31 million), Nepal (28 million), and Uzbekistan (27 million).

Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Chad, Niger, Ethiopia, and Bolivia are the largest landlocked states in terms of territory.

Being landlocked could create an island effect which prevents these countries from enjoying the benefits of.

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