Interesting Facts About Landlocked Countries in The World
A landlocked country is one that is completely surrounded by land. Some of these countries have coastlines, but only on closed seas. Rivers may run through the region, and bodies of water may exist within the country’s borders, but every border is land-based, rather than water-based, like an ocean shore.
Landlocked countries account for 49 percent of the world’s population. This figure is equivalent to one-fifth, or 20%, of all countries in the world.
Let’s get to know these countries a little better before we get into the specifics of life in a landlocked country. Over 40 countries in the world do not have an ocean border. Two are in South America (Bolivia and Paraguay), with the rest scattered throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. North America and (obviously) Australia are the only continents without any landlocked nations.
Kazakhstan, located in Central Asia, is the world’s largest landlocked country. The smallest is Vatican City, which is entirely contained within the boundaries of Rome. However, two landlocked nations stand out in terms of their distance from oceans. Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan are the only two countries that are completely surrounded by other landlocked countries. They must cross an entire country before reaching a country with a coast if they want to access the ocean.
Because the nearest coast is in another administrative unit, a landlocked country does not have access to the ocean. Except for North America and Oceania, every continent has landlocked countries. Bolivia, Switzerland, Austria, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia are among the most significant.
Transport costs are 50% higher in landlocked countries than in non-landlocked countries. When containerized imports are taken into account, landlocked countries face costs that are 85% higher than the global average. The following issues are particularly prevalent in developing world landlocked countries:
→ Difficulties in accessing international markets, as well as a reliance on neighboring countries’ stability and openness to ensure consistent access to international markets.
→ Economies that rely on natural resources, such as agriculture and mining. While agriculture is mostly for subsistence, other resources have a strong export component and high transportation costs. As a result, their exports are likely to be less competitive. The average landlocked country’s trade volume is less than 40% that of the average coastal country.
→ The internal transportation system is generally deficient, with a high concentration level, centered primarily on the capital.
A landlocked country can compensate for its lack of access to global trade by building transportation corridors to maritime gateways. While fluvial navigation is possible in some cases, fluvial systems serving landlocked countries are mostly found in Europe (for example, barges can service Switzerland and Austria). The most efficient freight services are established along rail corridors.
There are no specific connectivity barriers that prevent landlocked countries from accessing air transportation (for example, Zurich is a major European air transport hub). Nonetheless, landlocked countries are less connected due to their lower levels of development.
Three countries are completely landlocked (i.e. surrounded on all sides by a single country). Two of these countries were established within the borders of Italy.
Lesotho, which is surrounded by South Africa, San Marino, which is surrounded by Italy, and Vatican City, which is a city-state surrounded by Rome, Italy’s capital city, are among the single-country landlocked countries.
Enclave countries are those that are landlocked by a single country.
Eight countries share borders with two landlocked countries.
Austria is bordered to the north by Czechia (Czech Republic), to the northwest by Germany, to the west by Switzerland and Liechtenstein, to the southwest by Italy, to the southeast by Slovenia and Hungary, and to the east by Slovenia.
Serbia is the second landlocked country with the most international borders.
Hungary borders Serbia on the north, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the east, Montenegro and Kosovo on the southwest, Macedonia on the west, and Romania and Bulgaria on the east.
Landlocked countries that are separated from the nearest ocean coast by more than one country are referred to as double-landlocked or doubly-landlocked countries.
The first double-landlocked country is the microstate of Liechtenstein, which is located in central Europe and is surrounded by the landlocked countries of Austria and Switzerland.
Uzbekistan, the second country in Central Asia, is surrounded by the landlocked countries of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
South Ossetia and Transnistria are de facto states with little or no international recognition.
The largest landlocked country is Kazakhstan in Central Asia with a land area of over 2.7 million kilometers.
As the smallest sovereign state in the world, Vatican City is also the world’s smallest landlocked country. Photo: View of St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican as seen from the top of St. Peter’s Basilica, CIA, public domain.
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