Alternative to Third World

The term “third world” has a deep history, dating back to the Cold War when the world was divided between Western capitalism and Soviet communism. In 1952, French demographer Alfred Sauvy wrote “Three World’s, One Planet,” an article that divided countries into the three different groups we know today.

Three Worlds

Nations such as the United States and Western Europe were designated as the first world. The Soviet Union and its allies became the second world. Finally, all the other nations became known as third world countries. Over the years, the term “third world” began to gather a negative connotation of being less developed and economically sound than the first and second world.

Furthermore, what counts as the third world is not so easy to define. B.R. Tomlinson expressed in his article, “What was the Third World?” that the term is a “convenient and rather vague label for an imprecise collection of states.”

Peter Worsely, a proponent of introducing the term into academia, confessed that “the nature of the Third World seemed so self-evident in the 1960s that in a book on The Third World I published in 1964, I saw no need to define it any more precisely than that it was the world made up of the ex-colonial, newly-independent, non-aligned countries.”

This way of defining nations has long since been outdated. The Soviet Union isn’t even a nation anymore. So, if these nations aren’t the third world, what are they? Is there a more appropriate alternative to third world?

5 Phrases to Use as an Alternative to Third World

  1. Developing Nations – Many argue that the term “developing nations” is a better choice. Vaibhav Bojh, a credit manager at Punjab National Bank in India says, “Being called a developing country gives me a chance to improve.” However, this term comes with its problems too. While the term developing brings about a connotation of improving conditions, it also encourages the misconception that countries with big economies such as the U.S. are not still developing themselves. In 2016, the World Bank announced, “there is no longer a distinction between developing countries…and developed countries.”
  2. LICs and MICs – The World Bank is now encouraging a new classification based on income data. LICs and MICs, pronounced “licks and micks,” defines nations as low-income countries and middle-income countries. For nations that don’t fit either of these definitions, there is LMIC or lower-middle-income countries.
  3. Majority World – The term “Majority World” is often used to remind the West that these countries outnumber them. Majority World refers to countries where most of the population resides. On the other hand, the Minority World are the nations more commonly considered “developed” where a small percentage of the earth’s population lives.
  4. Fat and Lean – Describing a nation as either Fat or Lean, as proposed by Dayo Olopade in his Op-Ed, looks at the value in the operations of each country. Lean nations are resource-scarce so they use what is available more efficiently. As Olopade explains, in Fat nations “plenty is normal.” Olopade illustrates the positive connotation with the term lean, stating, “Individual Africans waste less food and water, owe less money and maintain a regional carbon footprint that is the lowest in the world.”
  5. Global South/North – This is a term that focuses on geographical locations. The term does not perfectly group all nations together. For example, Haiti is in the global north and Australia is in the global south. However, the term avoids any negative connotation.

“Third World” is an old and demeaning term that does not truly describe nations in the modern era. In truth, trying to categorize nations will never be entirely accurate. Every nation has its own culture and way of life. However, if we must refer to them using categories, there are plenty of alternatives to use that should become a part of our vernacular. Using an appropriate alternative to “third world” can help change the way that the world views its nations.

– Maura Byrne
Photo: Flickr

Coding in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is primarily an agricultural country, with more than 80 percent of its citizens living in rural areas. More than 108.4 million people call Ethiopia home, making it Africa’s second-largest nation in terms of population. However, other production areas have become major players in Ethiopia’s economy. As of 2017, Ethiopia had an estimated gross domestic product of $200.6 billion with the main product coming from other sources than agriculture.

Today, 1.2 million Ethiopians have access to fixed telephone lines, while 62.6 million own cell phones. The country broadcasts six public TV stations and 10 public radio shows nationally. 2016 data showed that over 15 million Ethiopians have internet access. While 15 percent of the population may not seem significant, it is a sharp increase in comparison to the mere one percent of the population with Internet access just two years prior.

Coding in Ethiopia: One Girl’s Success Story

Despite its technologically-limited environment, young tech-savvy Ethiopians are beginning to forge their own destiny and pave the way for further technological improvements. One such pioneer is teenager Betelhem Dessie. At only 19, Dessie has spent the last three years traveling Ethiopia and teaching more than 20,000 young people how to code and patenting a few new software programs along the way.

On her website, Dessie recounts some of the major milestones she’s achieved as it relates to coding in Ethiopia:

  • 2006 – she got her first computer
  • 2011- she presented her projects to government officials at age 11
  • 2013-she co-founded a company, EBAGD, whose goals were to modernize Ethiopia’s education sector by converting Ethiopian textbooks into audio and visual materials for the students.
  • 2014-Dessie started the “codeacademy” of Bahir Dar University and taught in the STEM center at the university.

United States Collaboration

Her impressive accomplishments continue today. More recently, Dessie has teamed up with the “Girls Can Code” initiative—a U.S. Embassy implemented a project that focuses on encouraging girls to study STEM. According to Dessie, “Girls Can Code” will “empower and inspire young girls to increase their performance and pursue STEM education.”

In 2016, Dessie helped train 40 girls from public and governmental schools in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia how to code over the course of nine months. During those nine months, Dessie helped her students develop a number of programs and projects. One major project was a website where students can, according to Dessie, “practice the previous National examinations like SAT prep sites would do.” This allows students to take practice tests “anywhere, anytime.” In 2018, UNESCO expanded a similar project by the same name to include all 10 regions in Ghana, helping to make technology accessible to more Africans than ever before.

With the continuation of programs like “Girls Can Code” and the ambition of young coders everywhere, access to technology will give girls opportunities to participate in STEM, thereby closing the technology gender gap in developing countries. Increased STEM participation will only serve to aid struggling nations in becoming globally competitive by boosting their education systems and helping them become more connected to the world in the 21st century.

– Haley Hiday
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Third World Countries
Third world countries all over the world are struggling to have their voices heard due to widespread negative perceptions and stereotypes. Many areas of the globe lack all the facts about third world countries, both knowing where such nations are located as well as efforts from within to push forward. Here are 10 facts about third world countries that will help give a better look at these developing nations.

10 Facts About Third World Countries

  1. The term “third world countries” was first used during the Cold War. This term was used to specify the countries that didn’t side with NATO/capitalism or at the time the Soviet Union/communism. Since the Soviet Union no longer exists, the term “third world countries” has become more open to interpretation in today’s society. The new generic meaning for third world countries are poor and underdeveloped nations. Such descriptors can refer to poor education, infrastructure, improper sanitation and/or poor access to healthcare.
  2. Third world countries can be categorized in different sections. Third world countries can be measured up in five different sections — political rights and civil liberties, gross national income, human development, poverty and press freedom. It is likely to see the same countries in each of these sections. For example, Somalia is listed under political and civil liberties, gross national income, poverty and press freedom.
  3. The term “third world” is becoming more and more out of date. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the interpretation of “third world countries” has become more open. With this phrase being so open it is easier to see the holes within. In an article by NPR, Marc Silver asked, “Who is to say which part of the world is “first?” And how can an affluent country like Saudi Arabia, neither Western nor communist, be part of the Third World?” To replace the term, “third world countries,” others are using phrases such as “developing world,” “developing countries” or “majority world.” There still isn’t a global consensus on which term to use.
  4. There are 166 developing countries. According to the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, there were approximately 166 developing countries; of these 166 developing countries, 52 are African countries; currently, Africa has a total of 54 countries.
  5. Water pollution is a growing concern in developing countries. More people die every year from unsafe water than from any form of violence. On January 10, 2018, the head of United Nations Environment and the Director General of the World Health Organization signed an agreement to improve joint actions to tackle pollution concerns around the world. Along with this agreement, the organizations also seek to improve coordination of waste and chemicals management, water quality, and food and nutrition issues.
  6. Health and nutrition resources are minimal. When determining whether a country is “developing,” there are three criteria to take into account. These three criteria are low-income, human resources and economic vulnerability. At least half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services. Along with poor access to health services WHO reported that two billion people lack key micronutrients in their diet and 88 percent of countries suffer from either two to three forms of malnutrition.
  7. Eighty percent of the world lives on $10 or less a day. Nearly two-thirds of the global workforce is listed under an ‘informal’ economy. Informal work means that these employees don’t have proper social protection, rights at work and adequate working conditions. In fact, the United Nations reports that “93 percent of the world’s informal employment is in emerging and developing countries.” Of this number, men, covering 63 percent, are most likely to obtain informal employment. The United Nations concluded that those living in rural areas are twice as likely to be informally employed than those in urban areas.
  8. There exists a higher percentage of violence against women. One in three women will globally experience physical or sexual violence by a partner or non-partner. This is true in any country, but the World Health Organization reported that those in developing countries are still more likely to experience this violence. It is reported that 36.6 percent of women in the Africa region and 37.7 percent of women in the South/East Asia region are most likely to undergo physical or sexual violence.
  9. Three hundred eighty-seven million children worldwide live in poverty. Of all the children in the world, 19.5 percent live in extreme poverty while the child mortality rate has improved in recent years. In 1990, there were 93 deaths per every 1,000 live births. In 2016, this amount dropped to 41 deaths per every 1,000 live births. According to UNICEF’s most recent report, about 15,000 children under five still die every day.
  10. Seventy-nine percent of people in third world countries live without electricity. It is seen that there is more harm than good for most who are living without electricity. Those who live without electricity are producing indoor air pollution through burning fires. This causes up to 3.5 million deaths per year.

Whether it is called “third world” or “developing,” countries all over the world are pushing to grow and move forward. Without proper funding and education, it becomes increasingly difficult to improve as stated in these 10 facts about third world countries. Visit Act Now on The Borgen Project website to find 30 ways to help those trying to overcome obstacles succeed.

– Victoria Fowler
Photo: Flickr

fostering academic growth in AfricaThe U.N. states that there are 48 million illiterate young people in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, 60 percent of children aged 15 to 17 are not enrolled in schools. Book Aid International has made it its mission to change this by fostering academic growth in Africa.


Education for All

One of the major U.N. Millenium Development goals was to have all school children complete primary level education by 2015. Although this was not achieved universally, there have still been several accomplishments in the sphere of education, and there are more children in schools now than ever before.

The U.N. reports that, from 2000 to 2015, enrollment in primary education rose from 83 percent to 91 percent. Additionally, the literacy rate among youth aged 15 to 24 skyrocketed from 83 percent to 91 percent between 1990 and 2015. One nonprofit located in the U.K., Book Aid International, can be accredited for helping the U.N. achieve these goals.


The Gateway to Knowledge

Book Aid International is a firm believer that the gateway to knowledge is through reading. Access to information can prevent children from falling into poverty, increase future job opportunities and improve their life expectancy past the age of five by 50 percent. As a result, Book Aid International has developed a program revolved around the power of books called Inspiring Readers.

Inspiring Readers donates books to schools in Africa where resource scarcity is a major issue. Through this program, schools receive a library of 1,250 new books and selected teachers from the schools receive specialized training to ensure that the books will be well utilized. Inspiring Readers also ensures that each school gets further resources and assistance by partnering up with a local library.

The program has already seen success. One particular Kenyan school that partnered with Book Aid International has received recognition from the community for improved student academic performance. The school stated in 2017 that students’ test scores have improved from 48 percent to 54 percent in Kiswahili, 48 percent to 50 percent in English and 45 percent to 52 percent in science.


Fostering Academic Growth in Africa

Overall, Inspiring Readers has brought 63,710 books to 50 schools around Africa. The organization has also trained 150 teachers and 20 librarians. Consequently, 31,343 children have been impacted by this program. However, Book Aid International does not want to stop there. Its goal is to reach 250,000 children by 2020.

Book Aid International estimates that it needs £2,600 per school to achieve this goal. There are many ways to help the nonprofit meet this goal, but it relies mostly on donations for funding. Small amounts of money can make a huge difference, as Book Aid International indicates it only costs £2 to send one book to a partnering school. The organization also accepts donations of new books.

Book Aid International has already made huge strides forward in fostering academic growth in Africa, nurturing children’s interests in reading as well as training teachers to become better motivators and instructors. This will only lead children to success and will ultimately help the U.N. in accomplishing its goal of education for all.

– Mary McCarthy

Photo: Flickr

chatbots in Africa
Businesses are slowly introducing chatbots in Africa, as more local users opt for mobile interactions through social media. At the end of 2015, 46 percent of the African population subscribed to mobile services, which is equivalent to more than half a billion people; interestingly, this percentage is expected to increase to 54 percent in 2020.

With such a growing use of smartphones, a chatbot revolution in Africa is not very far away.


The Chatbot Revolution

For starters – a chatbot simulates human conversation and are interactive. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), a chatbot is supported across different messaging platforms including Twitter and Facebook. Here are three chatbots in Africa automate services that are convenient and available 24/7 to users.


1. Leo

Recently, the United Bank of Africa (UBA), the Nigerian multinational financial institution, hired Leo — a chatbot. At the launch, Leo displayed a unique way of how bank customers could use social media platforms to carry out their banking activities.

UBA’s chat banker is a Facebook bot, something which the company says is “necessary in today’s fast-paced world with demands for quick-time transactions.” Customers will be able to carry out basic banking facilities like opening a new bank account, checking balances, transferring funds and receiving instant alerts. Additionally, customers will be able to pay bills, get answers to loan queries and applications and check balance statements.


2. Nuru

Nuru is created by UXstudio, a Budapest-based Hungarian start-up, and currently is available to users in Kenya and Ghana. This AI chatbot assists users in matters relating to agriculture, classified ads, finances and healthcare.

African farmers looking to sell can use Nuru to set prices. The chatbot automatically configures a price based on the type and the amount they have. The activation of the deal can only occur once the farmers are satisfied. Once activated, the buyers can reach out to the farmers through message or phone call.

For mobile money transactions, users in Kenya heavily rely on mPesa. Nuru integrates the transaction through Messenger — the chatbot asks for a password and, once authenticated, the transactions can successfully take place. Nuru also provides health tips based on questions asked by users.


3. Keirabot & Hazie

Keirabot is one of Botsza’s six tailor-made chatbots in Africa.

Botsza’s chatbots currently work across many industries like hotel reservation, flight booking, e-commerce, banks, finance, insurance and customer services. Currently supported on multiple messaging platforms, two chatbots are already operational for users — Haziebot and Keirabot.

Keirabot relieves users from the tiring process of searching homes by utilizing browsing functions via Facebook Messenger or Skype. Various tasks are performed using AI including credit checks, tenants, and comparisons between selling and buying a home.

Hazie, on the other hand, is a recruitment chatbot in Africa that allows job seekers to acquire ideal jobs. Users can simply apply for jobs using social media platforms like Facebook Messenger and Twitter.



Despite extensive benefits, the revolution of chatbots in Africa faces challenges.

According to The World Bank, African mobile and wireless markets are highly concentrated; in 27 countries, one player has more than 50 percent market share. Monopolies are still present in Africa: eleven in international gateway services and six in wireless internet services.

Additionally, with more than half of the population yet to subscribe to a mobile service, a big challenge for Africa is to connect the unconnected and unleash the economic potential of increased connectivity. Such challenges would also involve the problems of moving text-based interactions to chatbot technology.


The Potential Solution

But the African youth may be the answer to such challenges. Sixty percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under the age of 25, making Africa the world’s youngest region, according to World Economic Forum. Social media giants like Facebook and Google are already developing programs for the people in Africa.

In September 2016, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg visited Nairobi to learn more about mobile money and meet entrepreneurs and developers. The U.S. social media giant later announced that the center would host an “incubator program” to help develop technology start-ups while simultaneously training 50,000 Nigerians in digital skills.

In 2017, Google expanded its Africa initiatives following CEO Sundar Pichai’s visit to Nigeria. Alphabet also plans on increasing the funding for African startups by providing $20 million in grants to digital nonprofits. In April 2016, the company also launched Digital Skills for Africa, an initiative to provide free training (online and face-to-face) to people across 27 countries in Africa.

With such promising ventures, innovative technology in Africa could allow the country to stay on par with the rest of the world.

– Deena Zaidi

Photo: Flickr

world trade and emerging marketsIn an era of global retrenchment and calls for protectionist trade policies in developed countries, the increase in trade in 2017 gives a glimpse of hope for the future, especially for the economies of emerging markets.

Emerging markets are classified generally as countries whose economies are trending toward more liquid and robust markets, similar to those in developed countries, but are not quite there yet. The opportunity for growth in these countries provides a huge opportunity for addressing poverty and development issues. A few concrete examples of emerging markets are India, Russia, China and Brazil.

World trade and emerging markets are closely related. Since declining in 2016, world trade is growing at a faster rate than this time last year, largely on the back of import demand from emerging market economies, especially in places like Brazil and Russia. This is good news as it pertains to poverty in these countries. Between 2014 and 2016 in Brazil, the population living below the poverty line declined by more than 3 percent, or around 6 million people.

Since hitting a low in 2016, the dollar amount of imports has increased drastically in Brazil, with an exceptional bump in July 2017. There is no current data on the poverty level in 2017, but it is safe to assume that it is continuing to decline as Brazil’s economy improves and domestic demand increases, resulting in more trade activity.

General Russian commerce has increased as well, with the EU being the main benefactor of this trend. However, the Russian economy has stagnated and slowed due to a supply glut and subsequent diminishing of prices for fossil fuels. This has actually led to an increase in those living in poverty. However, the upward trend in trade due to demand in this emerging market may spell good news for poor Russians.

The relationship between world trade and emerging markets looked grim in recent years due to a surge in populism and protectionist policies in Europe and the United States. Trade is widely considered to be the reason that certain economies, who otherwise would have experienced stagnant growth and increased poverty, were able to establish more free economies and a consumer-based middle class.

Not only are these economies important in terms of production of consumer goods for developed countries, but are now increasingly becoming destinations for such products themselves. If this trend stays true, not only will poverty in these countries continue to decline, but a middle class will emerge and become vibrant markets for products from developed countries, thus benefiting everyone.

Despite what may look like a grim near-term forecast in terms of global trade resulting from political trends in developed countries, history is on the side of greater integration and raising the standard of living for everyone. World trade and emerging markets will continue to be a catalyst spurring growth and reducing poverty across the globe.

Daniel Cavins

Photo: Flickr

Growth in emerging markets and developing countries is set to increase this year after a financial crisis slowed trade in vulnerable regions. This turn of events could have a drastic impact on an already steadily declining rate of global poverty.

According to a report from World Bank, global trade growth has made a significant increase from 2.5 percent in 2016 to four percent this year. The financial crisis was due in part to growing concern of mounting debt and deficits in emerging markets and developing countries. World Bank Development Economic Prospects Director Ayhan Kose stated that this was a promising turn of events.

“After a prolonged slowdown, the recent acceleration in activity in some of the largest emerging markets is a welcome development for the growth in their regions and for the global economy,” Kose said.

Estimates show that the growth in emerging markets and developing countries alone will rise from 3.5 percent in 2016 to 4.1 percent this year. Growth is slated to exceed 2018 projections in the largest emerging markets and will have a positive impact on both local and global economies.

These recent predictions are in line with projected growth of income for individuals living in emerging markets and developing countries.

Additional information provided by World Bank, reflected that the number of people living below the poverty line (U.S. $1.90 a day) declined from 12.8 percent of the global population in 2012 to 9.6 percent in 2015.

World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, sees the projections of economic development as a way to strengthen the growth of individuals in these regions.

“For too long, we’ve seen slow growth hold back progress in the fight against poverty, so it is encouraging to see signs that the global economy is gaining a firmer footing,” Kim said.

Kim also encourages that “with a fragile but real recovery now underway, countries should seize the moment to undertake institutional and market reforms that can attract private investment to help sustain growth long-term. Countries must also invest in people and build resilience against overlapping challenges, including climate change, conflict, forced displacement, famine, and disease.”

Though there has been real change in economic growth in emerging markets and developing countries, there is still much work to be done. In order to maintain progress, these countries must make sound investments and maintain productivity in order to reduce poverty.


Drew Hazzard

Photo: Flickr

Rising Middle Class in Emerging Countries
One sign of the rising middle class in emerging countries is the optimistic projection for the global airline industry. An industry study conducted by analyst DKMA indicates that airline passenger traffic should double by 2035. More than half of the eight billion additional passengers will come from the Asia-Pacific, and 70 percent of future traffic growth will come from the new middle class in emerging countries as more people leave poverty.

The airline industry will be the latest to catch the rising wave of the global middle class. Other “connection” industries that are riding this wave include the cell phone industry, with seven billion devices in use around the world, and the internet, with 3.2 billion people connected to it and each other, according to the Wall Street Daily. In fact, internet users in developing nations outnumber those in developed nations two to one.

Middle class growth drives economic change as people leave poverty. Just 25 years ago, one-quarter of the population of emerging countries lived in extreme poverty, getting by on less than $1.25 per day. Today, that number has been more than halved. Just 10 percent live in extreme poverty. In the last two years alone, 100 million households in emerging countries moved from poverty to the middle class, according to a report by Credit Suisse.

The global middle class now numbers more than 1.8 billion. If current trends of falling poverty continue, the middle class will reach 3.2 billion by 2020 and 4.9 billion by 2030, according to the OECD Observer.

Consistent with the airline study projections, most of this growth is projected to take place in Asia. Asia is anticipated to be responsible for 66 percent of the global middle class population by the end of the next decade, up from 28 percent at the end of the last decade, and the continent will account for 59 percent of all consumption by the middle class, up from 23 percent.

The OECD reports that over the next 20 years, the Asia-Pacific market is projected to grow at a 5.3 percent rate; the Middle East, at a 5.2 percent rate, and Latin America and the Caribbean at a 4.7 percent rate. Further, there will eventually be more passengers on planes from emerging countries such as India and Indonesia than from long-time market leaders Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom, according to DKMA.

The booming air traffic economy in emerging countries could have positive economic effects on the ground. Airports will need to invest in new construction or renovations and increase staff and services to keep up with the greater demand. This economic trend has the potential to further influence global poverty rates in the future, demonstrating the way positive progress toward ending global poverty continues to impact the world.

Robert Cornet

Photo: Flickr