According to the CIA World Factbook, there are 44 countries and other areas that are landlocked. In simplest terms, this means that the country is devoid of coastline. This status is critical for many nations because it prevents unfettered access to the open ocean which, in turn, allows for trade with most of the countries in the world. Goods produced in a country without access to open water, for example, must always be transported through another country before traveling to their destination.
The status of being landlocked does not appear to be just a superficial aspect of a country. For example, the average gross domestic product (GDP) per capita for the world is approximately $15,000 US Dollars (USD). Of the world's landlocked countries, only a few, such as Switzerland and Austria, have higher GDPs per capita than this average. The average of all landlocked countries is only about $13,000 USD, but this average is skewed by the inclusion of countries like Lichtenstein, which has a per capita GDP of $118,000 USD.
Two countries in the world are double landlocked, which means that they are surrounded only by other landlocked countries: Lichtenstein and Uzbekistan. The largest landlocked country is Kazakhstan, which is the ninth largest country in the world, covering just over 1 million square miles (2.65 million square kilometers).
Africa includes a total of 15 landlocked countries; Asia has 12; Europe has 15; and South America has 2. Here is a list of all of them, organized by continent: