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[Detailed] Is Africa a Third World Country [Continent]?

Is africa a third world country

What is a Third World Country?

People often categorise the word ‘third world country’ as underdeveloped and poor communities trying very hard to cope with everyday life and meet basic human needs.

This may be true in our society today, but the earliest meaning of a third-world country is attributed to countries that did not have an alliance with either the United States or the former Soviet Union during the Cold War.

In present times, the term refers to countries characterised by economic instability, low per capita income, rising unemployment, lack of basic human needs such as access to food, shelter, and water.

Countries with these qualities are commonly underdeveloped, with widespread welfare dependency and high mortality rates; notable infant mortality rates.

These nations are characterised by high levels of poverty, and in some circumstances, fewer natural resources than other countries around the world.

They commonly depend largely on more industrialised countries for assistance and economic stabilisation.

According to the ‘worlds’ system, countries are ranked from first to the third world.

The term ‘first world’ includes countries with more economically advanced and highly-industralised societies.

It also means capitalist states that allied with the United States and NATO during the Cold War.

First-world countries include Australia, Japan, North America, and Western Europe.

On the other hand, second-world countries are those that lean toward a socialist society and were generally allied with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Examples of second-world countries include China, Poland, and Russia.

Third-world countries are nations that did not choose a team.

They include a vast majority of African countries, Asia, and Latin America.

This definition, however, also encompasses economically stable countries, which does not best suit the recent meaning of a third-world country.

Countries, such as Switzerland, Finland, Austria, and Ireland, would be categorised as ‘Third World’ under the historical definition. However, according to the modern usage of the term, this is not the case.

The statement ‘Third World’ is no longer in use. It has been modified to ‘developing country’ (as defined by the United Nations) or ‘low-income country’ (as defined by the World Bank).

Third-world, underdeveloped, and developing countries are also referred to as ‘emerging markets.’

Characteristics of a Third World Country

1. Dependence on other countries in areas of economy

Because of the state of these economies, third-world countries depend largely on more economically and highly-developed nations.

Furthermore, the economies of third-world countries, which mostly lack evolution and autonomy, are commonly controlled by nations that are more developed.

The disparity in dependence and control has widened the gap between rich and powerful nations, like the United Kingdom, to developing economies, such as Mali.

2. Developing countries are usually characterised by low Gross National Income (GNI)

Most developing countries have a high poverty rate and low Gross National Income (GNI) per capita.

The GNI of Sudan, in 2020, was $650, a decrease of 20.73 per cent from 2019.

In contrast, the GNI per capita of the United States was $64,310 in 2020.

3. Unsatisfactory political and civil liberties

The majority of the poorest nations of the world are also plagued with an extreme lack of political rights and civil liberties.

For instance, a third-world country like Sudan is a war-torn country where civil rights and liberties are almost absent. This is as a result of war crimes and violence in the society.

In contrast, citizens of the United States live on the other end of the spectrum with the basic rights entrenched.

4. Their Human Development Index (HDI) is low

The HDI, which is published annually by the United Nations, assesses three basic aspects of human life: knowledge, a long and healthy life, and a decent standard of living.

The United States is ranked fifth on the HDI scale, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo is ranked 186th.

5. Child mortality is high in third-world countries

The rate of infant mortality, in developed countries, is much lower (6 deaths per 1,000 children) than in developing countries (at 175 fatalities per 1,000 children).

Lack of adequate health facilities is the cause of high infant mortality in developing nations.

6. High rate of poverty

To be classified as a third-world country, a large proportion of a country’s population must be impoverished.

7. Lack of education

Although most developed countries, such as South Korea, invest heavily in education, most developing countries do not.

Inadequate government education budgets, corruption, poor governance, and a high public debt profile all contribute to poor educational development in third-world countries.

Unfortunately, most politicians in developing countries believe that educating citizens will make them difficult to rule.

As a result, they believe it is best to keep the majority of the population illiterate.

8. Less technological progress

A majority of leaders in developing countries lack foresight and technological exposure.

They are not prepared for the digital era’s fast-paced life.

So, they fail to recognise the importance of focusing on technological advancements and do not plan for the nation’s long-term technological future.

If developing nations want to progress, they must embrace and invest in technology.

In addition, they must emulate the technological progress of more industrialised countries.

9. Excessive foreign debt

Many third-world countries are deeply in debt.

Is Southern Africa a Third World Region?

Yes, southern Africa is a third-world region.

Southern Africa is different from other regions in the continent in the sense that it has a robust mining sector as well as secondary and tertiary sectors that are relatively developed.

Furthermore, with the exception of Malawi and Mozambique, most of these countries possess relatively developed infrastructure. Despite its exports of diamonds, chromium, platinum, gold, uranium, cobalt, and copper, Southern Africa still experience some of the common challenges as the rest of Africa.

In the twentieth century, Southern Africa developed a robust manufacturing sector, mainly Zimbabwe and South Africa.

This has impacted the investments in education infrastructure and healthcare and this raised the ranks of these countries into middle-income economies.

Since the 1990s however, the industries have continued to struggle due to globalisation and this has resulted in the loss of jobs.

For instance, Zimbabwe has witnessed massive industrialisation due to domestic and foreign factors.

While colonialism has had an impact on development throughout history, poverty, corruption, and HIV/AIDS are some of the most significant impediments to economic growth today.

Furthermore, South Africa and Zimbabwe, in particular, experience high emigration of skilled workers, resulting in a significant brain drain to Western economies and billions of dollars lost in human capital flight.

Is West Africa a Third World Region?

Yes, West Africa is a third-world region.

Examples of countries in this region include The Gambia, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana, Cabo Verde, Mauritania, Liberia, Senegal, Togo, Sierra Leone, and Niger.

Is North Africa a Third World Region?

North Africa is a third-world region. Examples of countries in this region include Western Sahara Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt.

Is East Africa a Third World Region?

East Africa is a third-world region. Examples of countries in this region include Eritrea, Madagascar, Comoros, Rwanda, Somalia, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti.

Third World Country List

  1. Tuvalu
  2. Somalia
  3. Niger
  4. Central African Republic
  5. South Sudan
  6. Chad
  7. Burundi
  8. Sierra Leone
  9. Burkina Faso
  10. Mali
  11. Mozambique
  12. Eritrea
  13. Afghanistan
  14. Malawi
  15. Guinea
  16. Yemen
  17. DR Congo
  18. Haiti
  19. Benin
  20. Senegal
  21. Djibouti
  22. Comoros
  23. Togo
  24. Madagascar
  25. The Gambia
  26. Ivory Coast
  27. Ethiopia
  28. Papua New Guinea
  29. Solomon Islands
  30. Tanzania
  31. Uganda
  32. Eswatini
  33. Cambodia
  34. Cameroon
  35. Syria
  36. Nigeria
  37. Rwanda
  38. Angola
  39. Myanmar
  40. Timor Leste
  41. Bangladesh
  42. Sao Tome and Principe
  43. Kenya
  44. Equatorial Guinea
  45. Vanuatu
  46. Kiribati
  47. Bhutan
  48. Honduras
  49. Guatemala
  50. Cape Verde
  51. India
  52. Namibia
  53. Guyana
  54. Nicaragua
  55. South Africa
  56. Philippines
  57. Moldova
  58. Tajikistan
  59. Indonesia
  60. Egypt
  61. Botswana
  62. Morocco
  63. Micronesia
  64. Kyrgyzstan
  65. Iraq
  66. Palestine
  67. Bolivia
  68. Vietnam
  69. Moldova
  70. Marshall Islands
  71. Maldives
  72. Suriname
  73. Dominica
  74. Belize
  75. Samoa
  76. Saint Vincent And The Grenadines
  77. Tonga
  78. Jamaica
  79. Dominican Republic
  80. Fiji
  81. Mongolia
  82. Saint Lucia
  83. Uzbekistan
  84. Peru
  85. Algeria
  86. Lebanon
  87. Sri Lanka
  88. Bosnia And Herzegovina
  89. Grenada
  90. Ukraine
  91. Colombia
  92. Belarus
  93. Malaysia
  94. Romania
  95. Oman
  96. Trinidad and Tobago
  97. Albania
  98. Panama
  99. Mauritius
  100. Montenegro
  101. Cuba
  102. Mexico
  103. Armenia
  104. Ukraine
  105. Ecuador
  106. Chile
  107. Argentina
  108. Iran
  109. Costa Rica
  110. Latvia
  111. Malta
  112. Bahrain
  113. Chile

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John Aina has a Masters degree as an engineer and has over 3 years of teaching and research experience. John is happiest when he is on a bike and is also interested in Solar technology.
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    [Detailed] Is Africa a Third World Country [Continent]?

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