16 Recognized Landlocked Countries In Africa

Africa is home to fifty-four (54) globally recognized Soviet states or countries, most of which can be found on the coasts of the continent. In reality, there are just sixteen (16) landlocked countries in Africa.

A study has suggested that upon closer inspection, these landlocked countries appear to be in worse condition than their coastal counterparts. Many believe that these landlocked countries do not have access to foreign exposure or influence, causing them to be extremely skeptical toward foreign media and trade, and to be more self-reliant.

In theory, this should be a good thing, but the reality is much grimmer. You see, as a result of their over-dependence on their paranoid governments, these landlocked African countries have become the breeding ground for all sorts of corrupt and vile practices, leading to low GDP and a sub-par standard of living. 

Today, we shall go as deeply as we can into these landlocked countries in Africa, in an attempt to learn more about them and hopefully understand the real cause of their underperformance, when compared to other countries in Africa.

So, in no particular order, here is a list of all the recognized landlocked countries situated in Africa right now.

Landlocked Countries In Africa

  1. Botswana 
  2.  Burundi
  3. Burkina Faso
  4.  Chad
  5.  Ethiopia
  6.  Zimbabwe
  7. Lesotho
  8.  Malawi
  9.  Mali
  10.  Rwanda
  11.  Niger
  12.  South Sudan
  13.  Swaziland
  14.  Uganda
  15.  Zambia
  16.  Central African Republic

1. Botswana

You see, the Nation of Botswana happens to be a landlocked country found in the Southern regions of Africa with a landscape that is very well defined by the Kalahari Desert as well as the Okavango Delta, which is known to transform into a healthy animal habitat when seasonal floods occur.

The vast and famous Central Kalahari Game Reserve, as well as its fossilized river channels and endlessly undulating grasslands, is an abode to a diverse range of animals, consisting of giraffes, hyenas, cheetahs and wild dogs.

The country gained its independence in 1966 and is famous for its wealth of diamonds, one of the scarcest natural objects in the whole world.

Thanks to its reserved wildlife features, the company makes around 12% of its GDP from tourism and wildlife. As a matter of fact, many of the wildlife documentaries that you see on TV have a very high chance of being filmed or shot in Botswana.

2. Burundi

Located on the south of the equator, back in the eastern parts of central Africa, Burundi happens to be one of the very few African countries whose geopolitical zones and borders were in no way determined or influenced by the European Colonial rulers.

This is largely due to it being far from the shores and further inland, making it hard to access by the then European “explorers”.

Of its eleven million (11,000,000) population, the vast majority comprises the Hutu tribe, known for their farming and simpler lifestyle. The minority is, however, made up of the Tutsi, who appear to be the “ruling tribe”, having held offices in the government and holding lucrative positions within the country even today.

This has led to tension and dissatisfaction, due to the inequality of status between the two tribes.

3. Burkina Faso

This West African landlocked country is called Burkina Faso, which can loosely be translated to mean “The Land of Honest Men.”

A name that is quite ironic, considering the very fact that in spite of its land being rich in one of the most valuable metals on earth, “gold”, the country continues to be plagued by both domestic and foreign threats, and the government is laced with so much corruption.

There are approximately over a 21million Burkinabé (What a citizen of this country is called) living in the country today.

4. Chad

Like Burkina Faso, Chad is a landlocked country, but it is actually situated in the northcentral region of the continent. It is bordered by Libya, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Cameroun to the north, east, southwest, and south, respectively.

The country is home to the renowned Lake Chad that blesses the terrain. Its 16 million population consists mainly of farmers of cotton and Sahara-like agriculture. However, since 2003, the country has struck oil literally.

After the discovery of oil fields in Chad, the country’s national eyes have kept their fingers crossed in apt hopefulness that the economic situation of the country would change for the better.

This hope has become bleak over the years due to the rising insurgency and terrorist activities, especially in recent times.

5. Ethiopia

Located snugly in the horn of Africa, Ethiopia became a landlocked country in 1993 after Eritrea broke away to become a country on its own, thereby cutting off its access to the Red Sea.

It is the largest as well as the country with the highest population, found in the horn of the continent.

6. Zimbabwe

Sandwiched between the rivers Zambezi and Limpopo in the southeastern part of the continent, sits the landlocked nation of Zimbabwe. The Republic of Zimbabwe became an independent country in 1980 after fifteen (15) years of colonial rule.

Blessed with thousands of acres of natural wildlife reserves as well as reliefs and plains and mountains, Zimbabwe is one of the best naturally sculpted African nations. 

7. Lesotho

Lesotho is the 7th landlocked country and the coldest country in Africa. This high-altitude country is famous for its cold climate as well as its calm and hospitable inhabitants. It is decorated with an exquisite array of rivers, mountains, hills, and valleys, laid out in a picturesque manner. Its capital, Maseru, is home to the nation’s government that directs the affairs of its 2 million plus citizens.

8. Malawi

Formerly referred to as Nyasaland, Malawi is a country located in the nest of the South-Eastern region of Africa. It is landlocked thanks to its surrounding border nations namely, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Most of its 19million citizens are cash crop farmers and its major export is tobacco and tea.

9. Mali

This landlocked country in the western part of Africa also happens to be the eighth (8th) largest country in the whole African continent.

Out of its 19million citizens, 67% of them are made up of 25year olds and people younger than that. The country has an official language of French as well as a really deep African heritage. 

10. Rwanda

Out of all the countries in Africa with a history of violence, Rwanda seems to be the only African country that has been able to bounce back from it with so much swiftness and strength.

This landlocked country can be located in the Great Rift Valley, which is a couple of degrees south of the equator.

The capital; Kigali is home to the administrative arm of the country, which governs its 13 million citizens who speak three major languages, namely; English, French and Kinyarwanda, which is the official native tongue of the people.

11. Niger

Niger is a landlocked West African country that is surrounded by Libya, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and the Benin Republic. Its official language is French, which is spoken by its 24 million inhabitants.

Thanks to its location and climate, it experiences drought, leading to a series of famines and drought-induced problems. There is also a high level of insecurity along its borders, making it one of the most dangerous West African nations.

This and other factors have had a negative influence on the country’s economy over the years, causing a drop in its GDP.

12. South Sudan

Located deep in the northern region of East Africa, the Republic of South Sudan is a landlocked nation surrounded by the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda, and just recently, North Sudan, or Sudan.

It is comprised of mainly Christians as well as animists, as opposed to their northern counterpart, which is largely populated by Muslims. In the past decade, the country has been plagued by war and famine and is only starting to rise from its ashes.

13. Swaziland

This small serene landlocked country is sandwiched between Mozambique and South Africa. Formerly known as the Kingdom of Eswatini, Swaziland is the country with the smallest landmass in all of Africa.

And compared to other countries, Swaziland has arguably the smallest population in Africa, with just a little over 1million. It has a monarchial governing system that seems to just work for it.

14. Uganda

Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Rwanda are a few of the countries that enclose the borders of Uganda. Located in the heart of East Africa, Uganda is home to various snowcapped mountains as well as the beautiful Lake Victoria.

It has a beautiful landscape and wildlife conservation. Its 46 million indigenes speak either or both English and Swahili, as these are the two major languages of the country.

15. Zambia

The landlocked country of Zambia is located in the deep southern region of the African continent. This country is built on tropical vegetation and is blessed with a beautiful landscape of waterworks, from waterfalls to lakes and streams. It is a natural paradise on earth.

The country thrives on its wildlife and tourism sector. The official language is English and there are well over 18 million people living in Zambia right now.

16. Central African Republic (CAR)

As the name implies, this country is located deep in the heart of Africa. It is as landlocked as landlocked could possibly get. Out of its 4.3 million people, about 89% of them are Christians.

In spite of these numbers, the country seems to be plagued by various vices and crimes. This is as a result of the government’s corruption and social unrest.

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