A Comprehensive Overview of Criteria Defining a Third-World-Country and an Exemplification of the Development of AIDS in the Sub-Saharan African State of Zambia

Term Paper, 2006

27 Pages, Grade: 1,3



1. Introduction

2. Which criteria characterize a developing country?
2.1 Economics
2.1.1 Low Added Value
2.1.2 Export
2.1.3 High Unemployment
2.1.4 Poverty
2.2 Ecology
2.2.1 Rain forest
2.2.2 Urbanization
2.2.3 Desertification
2.3 Demography
2.3.1 Population growth
2.3.2 Low life expectancy
2.3.3 Childhood mortality
2.4 Physical Health
2.4.1 Food
2.4.2 Hunger
2.4.3 Water
2.4.4 AIDS
2.5 Sociocultural attributes
2.5.1 Situation of women
2.5.2 Child labour
2.6 Political attributes
2.6.1 Political instability
2.6.2 Corruption
2.6.3 Human rights

3. Prevalence of AIDS in Africa
3.1 One Example: Zambia
3.1.1 History of AIDS in Zambia
3.1.2 Ways of HIV Transmission and cultural features

4. Conclusion

5. Bibliography

1. Introduction

In the Seminar “Corporation for Development and Education – the case of El Salvador” we focused on the problems of Developing Countries and Third World Countries. The target of this overview is to show the different criteria which classify a developing country and to give a short description how the situation of one criteria is labelled and what consequences this has.

As each topic could form an essay in itself, I can only give a short explanation. In the second passage of this essay I will focus the situation of AIDS in one African state, Zambia, up from history to recent statistics and prospects of the future.

2. Which criteria characterize a developing country?

In the following I will specify the different criteria which are said to characterize a developing country. These attributes are understood as symptoms of structural problems. These attributes have a different significance in industrialized countries. Before explaining the criteria for developing countries, I think it necessary to emphasise, that more than 80% of the world’s population lives in developing countries – only 17% live in the industrialized part of the world. In 1950 30% of the worlds population lived in the industrialized part. As per estimation of the “Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DWS)” in 2050 only 12% of the worlds population will live in industrialized countries.[1]

2.1 Economics

2.1.1 Low Added Value

A major part of economical problems arise from the low value.[2] Most people work in the prime sector: agriculture and raw materials. In this sector surpluses cannot be expected. The industrial sector including e.g. trade, energy industry or the service sector, has a very low level of development. As a consequence the income does not rise and the possibility for people to make capital investments or to have money available to spend is very low. Therefore the gross domestic product is small.

2.1.2 Export

As most people in developing countries are working in the prime sector, the export-palette is one-sided. It consists mostly of agricultural goods and raw materials.[3]

Also the terms of trade are not favourable, because developing countries try to conform to the terms of foreign trade and payments of the industrialized countries. Therefore the conditions do not harmonise with their possibilities. In connection with the low added value and huge unemployment (see next) the export and the gross national product remain on a low level.

2.1.3 High Unemployment

The unemployment rate is very high, per estimation in all developing countries it is more than one third of the habitants, for example in South Africa more than 50% of the population is unemployed. According to the “Lexikon Dritte Welt” unemployment can be split into two different groups

1) open unemployment; official unemployment (?)
2) underemployment; “hidden unemployment”[4]

The amount of underemployed people is much higher than the officially disclosed statistics. The underemployed are people, who have a workplace, but work less than they would like to or who do not earn enough money for basic subsistence. Furthermore the “hidden unemployed” can be situated in different groups:

- seasonal work, meaning that people only get a job for tillage and for harvest;
- cyclical work, meaning varying work, depending on demand
- stationary work, meaning the underemployment of helping family members.[5]

Without investments, creating jobs is not possible. But governments lack money. Developing countries are dependent on help from the industrialized part of the world. The unemployment has different causes. In general there is a difference in the causes for unemployment between the rural and the city. In the paper “Welt im Wandel” Mr. Claus D. Gupp writes about the causes as follows:

Rural unemployment:

- unequal possession: the bigger part of the rural population does not possess land or only little land. Therefore they are not only dependent on the products of foreign farmers, but also on a workplace on a foreign farm. (This affects especially Latin America and South Asia, less Africa.)
- Low productions for the market: Many farmers only work for their own needs, because the government gives only little money for the goods. Also many farmers do not have enough money for fertilizers or seeds. Thus the work supply is automatically reduced. (This is characteristic for Asia and Black Africa).
- population growth: with population growth the density of the population grows, too. This way the agricultural area gets smaller and the workforce grows.
- natural disasters: many people are forced to leave rural environments and are emigrating to the big cities, because they cannot find work anymore. This is a reason for slum growth in the metropolis of the third world countries, because the big cities cannot supply enough work, either.
- the sales market for trade and business concerns is limited, because the purchasing power on the part of the rural is low. This causes low possibilities to work in the concerns
Urban unemployment:
- due to a growing mechanisation in agriculture, less workers are needed.
- automation is growing, modern technology displaces the traditional manufacture, an area where many people worked.
- the willingness of businesses to create workplaces is low, because of restrictions on the part of the government. (Typical in Black Africa and in South- and Southeast Asia.)
- due to the migration from the rural in the cities the number of applicants for work grows continuously.[6]

2.1.4 Poverty

The direct consequence of unemployment is poverty, a central concern that creates further problems where it occurs. These problems give rise to each other in some kind of vicious circle, so it is not possible to try to solve one problem by itself. Related problems have to be looked at, too. For example, you cannot only combat hunger, as hunger is by itself a consequence of many other problems. The problems in the developing countries, especially in the third world countries, have to be understood as a whole.

Most of the world’s population live below poverty level: globally, 47% live on less than 2$ a day[7] and 20% even live on less than 1$ a day. Most of the poor people live in developing countries.

Poverty has consequences for many parts of life: nutrition, health, education, social security and powerlessness. People live in slums or other kinds of makeshift shelters. Some even do not have even that. Poverty varies depending on regions within a country, or within minorities. These minorities can be special social groups (e.g. ethnic or religious) or also certain members of the family, such as women. As a consequence of poverty, developing countries are dependent on the help of the industrialized countries. In addition to this, national debt is high which does not leave developing countries in a position to pay back debts. To combat poverty in developing countries means to get the whole chain of problems under control.

The United Nations Millenium Declaration of the UN

The Millenium Declaration took place in September 2000 in New York and was signed by 191 nations, including 127 members of the German government. It proclaims to be the global agenda for the 21th century. The most important goal of the Millenium Declaration is to half the percentage of the worlds population which lives on less than 1$ a day, and to half the percentage of the worlds population that suffers from hunger. These goals are expected be reached until 2015.

These are the declared targets of the programm:[8]

- to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- to achieve universal primary education
- to promote gender equality and empower women
- to reduce child mortality
- to improve maternal health
- to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- to ensure environmental sustainability
- to develop a global partnership for development

Poverty Reduction Strategies

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IWF) created a program to release developing countries from their debts or to reduce their debts. In a second step, the saved money should be taken by the government to combat poverty. The IWF supports governments to initiate a so called “Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper”, PRSP, and it also controls it.[9] For example, Sierra Leone initiated a PRSP in March 2005. This paper contains an analysis of the different causes for the problems in the country and the different causes of poverty as well as statistics of special problems in different areas, e.g. human development. The participants of this PRSP are the World Bank, the IWF and different stakeholders. The PRSP goes parallel with two other aid packages and are meant to work together on the same targets.[10]

The fight against poverty is a contribution to peace and thus a more secure future.

2.2 Ecology

Many developing countries are especially affected by ecologic problems. The environmental program UNEP of the UN and the World Watch Institute came to the conclusion that 90% of global species extinctions, as well as soil erosions and forest clearance, take place in the developing countries.[11]

As natural resources are the most important preconditions for safeguarding a population’s existence, environmental crises are particularly bad for developing countries. Looking at the global consequences on the environmental crisis, the industrialized countries need to take responsibility.

2.2.1 Rain forest

Up to today more than 50% of the rain forest has already vanished. Deforestation takes place to make room for animal husbandry, commercial furniture and – as a result of population growth – for agricultural crop land, to safeguard the food for the people. By cutting down trees and burning the remaining vegetation, the forest gets destroyed. Without the vegetation, the soil lacks nutrients, as a result an agricultural crop land only lasts a few crop cycles. The humus layer has to regenerate, but that takes a long time. Thus after a few cycles new agricultural crop land needs to be developed.[12]

A result of the deforestation is also the extinction of animal species. Global biodiversity is under threat as 40%-60% of the animals on this planet live in these rain forests.

One factor of the destruction of the rain forest is also to be found in international development assistance projects. With the view to relieve the poverty, in some countries “Massenbesiedlungsprogramme” were made. A known example is the “Transmigrasi”-program in Indonesia, where since 1974 millions of people had to move into a rain forest area. Experts estimate that this causes a loss of nearly 200.000 ha a year![13]

2.2.2 Urbanization

In industrialised countries urbanisation took place in a different way than in developing countries. First there was an agrarian reform, which started industrialization and urbanization. It was necessary for the division of work in modern society.[14]

In today’s developing countries this process is different. Urbanization started in the 1920’s in Latin America and went on in other developing countries after the second World War, normally before the stage of industrialization. In the 1950’s and 1960’s there was the hope for urbanisation as a motor for modernization. But this hope did not come true. One of the factors for this failure was that urbanization in developing countries grew faster than in the industrialized countries during their biggest economic growth in the second half of the twentieth century.


[1] http://www.dsw-online.de/

[2] http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entwicklungsland#Demographische_Merkmale

[3] Ebd.

[4] http://www.payer.de/entwicklung/entw24.htm#2

[5] Ebd.

[6] Ebd.

[7] Welthaus Bielefeld: Atlas der Weltverwicklulngen. Peter-Hammer-Verlag GmbH, Wuppertal 2001. S. 21ff

[8] http://www.europeintheworld.info/mdg/

[9] http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTPOVERTY/EXTPRS/0,,menuPK:384207 ~pagePK:149018~piPK:149093~theSitePK:384201,00.html

[10] http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPRS1/Resources/Sierra-Leone_PRSP(March-2005).doc

[11] http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entwicklungsland#Gemeinsame_Merkmale_der_Entwicklungsl.C3.A4nder

[12] http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropenwald

[13] http://www.global2000.at/index3.htm?/pages/tregenwaldindustrie.htm

[14] http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urbanisierung

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A Comprehensive Overview of Criteria Defining a Third-World-Country and an Exemplification of the Development of AIDS in the Sub-Saharan African State of Zambia
University of Lüneburg
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ISBN (eBook)
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Comprehensive, Overview, Criteria, Defining, Third-World-Country, Exemplification, Development, AIDS, Sub-Saharan, African, State, Zambia
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Kerstin Meyer (Author), 2006, A Comprehensive Overview of Criteria Defining a Third-World-Country and an Exemplification of the Development of AIDS in the Sub-Saharan African State of Zambia, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/68380


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