landlocked state or landlocked country is a sovereign state entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas. There are currently 49 such countries, including five partially recognised states. Only two, Bolivia and Paraguay in South America, lie outside Afro-Eurasia (the Old World).
As a rule, being landlocked creates political and economic handicaps that access to the high seas avoids. For this reason, states large and small across history have striven to gain access to open waters, even at great expense in wealth, bloodshed, and political capital.
The economic disadvantages of being landlocked can be alleviated or aggravated depending on the degree of development, language barriers, and other considerations. Some landlocked countries are quite affluent, such as SwitzerlandLiechtensteinLuxembourg, and Austria, all of which frequently employ neutrality to their political advantage. The majority, however, are classified as Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs). Nine of the twelve countries with the lowest Human Development Indices (HDI) are landlocked.


Historically, being landlocked has been disadvantageous to a country’s development. It cuts a nation off from important sea resources such as fishing and impedes or prevents direct access to seaborne trade, a crucial component of economic and social advance. As such, coastal regions tended to be wealthier and more heavily populated than inland ones. Paul Collier in his book The Bottom Billion argues that being landlocked in a poor geographic neighbourhood is one of four major development “traps” by which a country can be held back. In general, he found that when a neighbouring country experiences better growth, it tends to spill over into favourable development for the country itself. For landlocked countries, the effect is particularly strong, as they are limited in their trading activity with the rest of the world. He states, “If you are coastal, you serve the world; if you are landlocked, you serve your neighbours.” Others have argued that being landlocked may actually be a blessing as it creates a “natural tariff barrier” which protects the country from cheap imports. In some instances, this has led to more robust local food systems.
Landlocked developing countries have significantly higher costs of international cargo transportation compared to coastal developing countries (in Asia the ratio is 3:1).

Country Area(km2) Population Cluster Surrounding countries Count
Lesotho 30,355 2,067,000 (none) South Africa 1
San Marino[d] 61 31,716 (none) Italy 1
Vatican City 0.44 826 (none) Italy 1
Andorra 468 84,082 (none) FranceSpain 2
Bhutan 38,394 691,141 (none) IndiaChina 2
Liechtenstein 160 35,789 Central Europe SwitzerlandAustria 2
Moldova 33,846 3,559,500 (Eastern Europe) RomaniaUkraine 2
Mongolia 1,566,500 2,892,876 (none) ChinaRussia 2
Nepal 147,181 26,494,504 (none) ChinaIndia 2
South Ossetia 3,900 72,000 (none) GeorgiaRussia 2
Swaziland 17,364 1,185,000 (none) MozambiqueSouth Africa 2
Transnistria 4,163 505,153 (Eastern Europe) MoldovaUkraine 2
West Bank 5,655 2,862,485 (none) IsraelJordan 2
Artsakh 11,458 146,600 Caucasia ArmeniaAzerbaijanIran 3
Burundi 27,834 10,557,259 Central Africa RwandaTanzaniaDemocratic Republic of the Congo 3
Luxembourg 2,586 502,202 (none) BelgiumGermanyFrance 3
Malawi 118,484 15,028,757 Southern Africa ZambiaTanzaniaMozambique 3
Paraguay 406,752 6,349,000 South America ArgentinaBrazilBolivia 3
Armenia 29,743 3,254,300 Caucasia IranTurkeyGeorgiaAzerbaijan 4
Botswana 582,000 1,990,876 Southern Africa NamibiaZambiaZimbabweSouth Africa 4
Czech Republic 78,867 10,674,947 Central Europe AustriaGermanyPolandSlovakia 4
Kosovo 10,908 1,804,838 Central Europe AlbaniaMacedoniaMontenegroSerbia 4
Kyrgyzstan 199,951 5,482,000 Central Asia ChinaKazakhstanTajikistanUzbekistan 4
Rwanda 26,338 10,746,311 Central Africa UgandaTanzaniaBurundiDemocratic Republic of the Congo 4
Tajikistan 143,100 7,349,145 Central Asia AfghanistanUzbekistanKyrgyzstanChina 4
Turkmenistan 488,100 5,110,000 Central Asia KazakhstanUzbekistanAfghanistanIran 4
Zimbabwe 390,757 12,521,000 Southern Africa South AfricaBotswanaZambiaMozambique 4
Azerbaijan[a][e] 86,600 8,997,401 Caucasia RussiaGeorgiaArmeniaIranTurkey 5
Belarus 207,600 9,484,300 (none) PolandLithuaniaRussiaUkraineLatvia 5
Bolivia 1,098,581 10,907,778 South America PeruBrazilChileArgentinaParaguay 5
Kazakhstan[a] 2,724,900 16,372,000 Central Asia ChinaKyrgyzstanRussiaTurkmenistanUzbekistan 5
Laos 236,800 6,320,000 (none) MyanmarChinaVietnamCambodiaThailand 5
Macedonia 25,713 2,114,550 Central Europe KosovoSerbiaBulgariaGreeceAlbania 5
Slovakia 49,035 5,429,763 Central Europe AustriaCzech RepublicPolandUkraineHungary 5
Switzerland 41,284 8,401,120 Central Europe FranceGermanyLiechtensteinAustriaItaly 5
Uganda 241,038 40,322,768 Central Africa KenyaSouth SudanDemocratic Republic of the CongoRwandaTanzania 5
Uzbekistan 449,100 32,606,007 Central Asia KazakhstanTajikistanKyrgyzstanAfghanistanTurkmenistan 5
Afghanistan 652,230 33,369,945 Central Asia IranTurkmenistanUzbekistanTajikistanChinaPakistan 6
Burkina Faso 274,222 15,746,232 Central Africa MaliNigerBeninTogoGhanaIvory Coast/Côte d’Ivoire 6
Central African Republic 622,984 4,422,000 Central Africa ChadCameroonCongoDemocratic Republic of the CongoSudanSouth Sudan 6
Chad 1,284,000 13,670,084 Central Africa LibyaNigerSudanCentral African RepublicNigeriaCameroon 6
Ethiopia 1,104,300 101,853,268 Central Africa DjiboutiEritreaKenyaSomaliaSouth SudanSudan 6
South Sudan 619,745 8,260,490 Central Africa SudanEthiopiaKenyaUgandaDemocratic Republic of the CongoCentral African Republic 6
Hungary 93,028 9,797,561 Central Europe AustriaCroatiaRomaniaSerbiaSlovakiaSloveniaUkraine 7
Mali 1,240,192 14,517,176 Central Africa AlgeriaNigerBurkina FasoIvory CoastGuineaSenegalMauritania 7
Niger 1,267,000 15,306,252 Central Africa LibyaChadNigeriaBeninBurkina FasoMaliAlgeria 7
Austria 83,871 8,823,054 Central Europe GermanyCzech RepublicSlovakiaHungarySloveniaItalyLiechtensteinSwitzerland 8
Serbia 88,361 7,306,677 Central Europe HungaryRomaniaBulgariaMacedoniaCroatiaBosnia and HerzegovinaMontenegroAlbania (via Kosovo and Metohija[c]) 8
Zambia 752,612 12,935,000 Southern Africa Democratic Republic of the CongoTanzaniaMalawiMozambiqueZimbabweBotswanaNamibiaAngola 8
Total 14,776,228 475,818,737
Percentage of World 11.4% 6.9%

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