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Top 5 Fastest Developing CountriesThe world economy is changing every day due to trade investments, inflation and rising economies making a greater impact than ever before. Improvements in these economies have been due to significant government reforms within these countries as well as the administration of international aid through financial and infrastructural efforts. These are the top five fastest developing countries in no particular order.

Top Five Fastest Developing Countries

  1. Argentina. Contrary to popular belief, Argentina is actually considered a developing country. Argentina’s economy was strong enough to ensure its citizens a good quality of life during the first part of the 20th century. However, in the 1990s, political upheaval caused substantial problems in its economy, resulting in an inflation rate that reached 2,000 percent. Fortunately, Argentina is gradually regaining its economic strength. Its GDP per capita just exceeds the $12,000 figure that most economists consider the minimum for developed countries. This makes Argentina one of the strongest countries in South America.
  2. Guyana. Experts have said that Guyana has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. It had a GDP of $3.63 billion and a growth rate of 4.1 percent in 2018. If all goes according to plan, Guyana’s economy has the potential to grow up to 33.5 percent and 22.9 percent in 2020 and 2021. Its abundance in natural resources such as gold, sugar and rice are among the top leading exports worldwide. Experts also project that Guyana will become one of the world’s largest per-capita oil producers by 2025.
  3. India. As the second most populated country in the world, India has run into many problems involving poverty, overcrowding and a lack of access to appropriate medical care. Despite this, India has a large well-skilled workforce that has contributed to its fast-growing and largely diverse economy. India has a GDP rate of $2.7 trillion and a $7,859 GDP per capita rate.
  4. Brazil. Brazil is currently working its way out of one of the worst economic recessions in its history. As a result, its GDP growth has increased by 1 percent and its inflation rate has decreased to 2.9 percent. As Latin America’s largest economy, these GDP improvements have had a significant impact on pulling Latin America out of its economic difficulties. Additionally, investors have also become increasingly interested in investing in exchange-traded funds and large successful companies such as Petrobras, a large oil company in Brazil.
  5. China. Since China began reforming its economy in 1978, its GDP has had an average growth of almost 10 percent a year. Despite the fact that it is the world’s second-largest economy, China’s per capita income is relatively low compared to other high-income countries. About 373 million Chinese still live below the upper-middle-income poverty line. Overall, China is a growing influence on the world due to its successes in trade, investment and innovative business ventures.

This list of the five fastest developing countries sheds some light on the accomplishments of these nations as they build. As time progresses, many of these countries may change in status.

Lucia Elmi
Photo: Wikimedia

Economic Growth in Bangladesh

Bangladesh, a diverse and culturally rich nation located in South Asia, is known for its beautiful green scenery and numerous waterways. It is currently the 8th most populous country worldwide. When it first became an independent country in 1971, Bangladesh was incredibly poor with 82 percent of the population living below the extreme poverty line. At the time, the country experienced a negative rate of 14 percent; political tensions were high and the nation was continuously devastated by famine and flood. Today, the situation of is much different with economic growth in Bangladesh on the rise.

Growth on Many Fronts

Bangladesh now has an average economic growth rate of 8 percent, well above the regional average growth rate of 5.5 percent. In the first quarter of 2019, Bangladesh was the 7th fastest growing economy in the world, with a real GDP growth rate of 7.4 percent. Notably, between 2008 and 2017, per capita income in Bangladesh has increased by 149 percent helping to boost human development indicators for the country.

Bangladesh’s remarkable economic growth has raised a significant portion out of the population out of poverty. The poverty rate of Bangladesh fell from 48.9 percent in 2000 to 24.3 percent in 2016 and the proportion of employed workers living in extreme poverty dropped from 73.5 percent in 2010 to 14.8 percent in 2016.

Contributors to Economic Growth in Bangladesh

With a combination of progressive social policies and economic reforms, Bangladesh has been able to attract a large number of foreign investment and find new markets, resulting in a thriving economy despite the world’s stagnating state.

Bangladesh’s economic liberalization, successful adaptation and modernization policies have allowed the country to compete in the global market place and attract foreign investors. Net foreign direct investment rose by 42.9 percent, concentrating on the power, food and textile sectors.

The Garment Industry

The success of the garment industry is one contributor to strong economic growth in Bangladesh, accounting for 84.2 percent of exports in the country. Growth in garment exports increased from 8.8 percent to 11.5 percent in 2018, reflecting strong demand from the U.S. and newer markets like Canada, Japan, India, China and Korea.

Despite continued success in the garment sector, it is risky to rely on a single industry for the majority of exports. Bangladesh is aiming to diversify its export basket, increasing competitiveness in other sectors as well. The Export Competitiveness for Jobs project, supported by World Bank Group, is an example of the effort Bangladesh’s government is taking to increase diversity in exports. 

Empowering Women

Additionally, Bangladesh has taken serious steps to empower women with efforts from non-governmental organizations such as Grameen and BRAC as well as the government to educate girls and give women a greater voice in both households and society. These efforts have helped to improve children’s health and education, which are key indicators of economic development. Additionally, the authority promotes lending to small and medium-sized enterprises as well as women entrepreneurs, introducing policies that promote economic inclusion, creating more active transactions and other economic activities.

Moving Forward with a Vision

Since 1975, Bangladesh has been listed by the U.N. as one of the least developed countries (LDCs) but has recently met the criteria to graduate from that status by 2024, which is a sign indicating the country’s capability to enable sustainable development. The government has its own agenda to become a middle-income country by 2021, celebrating the nation’s 50th birthday.

Thanks to sound economic policies, rapid modernization and progressive demographic development, Bangladesh is now able to build an economy that can successfully thrive in a volatile world. With the right policies and timely actions, Bangladesh is on the trajectory to achieve its “Vision 2021”.

– Minh-Ha La
Photo: Flickr

Tourism Reduces Poverty

Machu Pichu is a premier tourist destination in the developing country of Peru. It is listed as one of the new seven wonders of the world, attracts over 1.2 million tourists each year and continues to be incredibly well preserved. Peruvian tourism authorities are restricting access to the Incan ruins to minimize the impact of the millions of visitors who journey to the ancient citadel each year. Efforts like these have preserved most of the city and its buildings that are over 500 years old. Machu Pichu is the “golden goose” of the Incan ruins that are spread throughout Peru and has shown that tourism reduces poverty.

Machu Pichu

The ancient citadel was built on a mountain ridge in the Cusco region for the Incan emperor Pachacuti around 1450. It was soon abandoned during the Spanish conquest, but its isolated location left it completely unnoticed by the conquistadors, who were responsible for the destruction of most Incan relics. Machu Pichu remained unknown to the outside world until 1911, when it was discovered by American historian Hiram Bingham. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983 and still features its famous astronomical clock, Temple of the Sun and Room of Three Windows that have given historians and tourists an accurate glimpse into Incan life.

Tourism in Peru

The astronomical growth in the popularity of Machu Pichu, from having around 800,000 visitors in 1980 to over 1.2 million in 2013, has made tourism an essential development tool in Peru. According to a guide for Akorn Destination Management, “tourism is the main industry in the region of Cuzco followed by mining and then agriculture.” Tourism reduces poverty in Peru by providing the government with tax revenue from restaurants, sales and income, in addition to the $6 million generated per year from Machu Pichu’s entrance fee.

The Peruvian people also benefit from the enormous popularity and interest in the ancient ruins, through a multiplier effect, a phenomenon whereby a given change in a particular input causes a larger change in output. The new money that is brought into the economy by tourists attracts new businesses and services that are highly labor intensive, which creates millions of jobs for Peruvians. Both the employment benefits for Peruvians and the tax dollars going to the government are having a positive impact on the overall economy.

The Economy in Peru

Peru is one of the world’s fastest growing economies with a GDP of 6.3 percent in 2011 and is classified as an upper-middle economy. According to the guide, “Peru has grown exponentially in the last decade.” This steady increase in GDP has been coupled with tourism in Peru, growing by an annual rate of 25 percent. Overall, travel and tourism contribute 10.1 percent to the country’s GDP and supports 1,366,500 jobs. Thus, Peru has the largest tourism sector in all of South America and is one of the leaders in the global tourism industry.

Tourism is responsible for 5 percent of the world’s GDP and over 235 million jobs. It is an important development tool for developing countries, which host several of the world’s wonders. Peru’s use of Machu Pichu as a tool for domestic progress is a prime example of how tourism reduces poverty.

– Anand Tayal
Photo: Unsplash

ten facts about poverty in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is the country located in the South Caucuses at the crossroad between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Humans have settled in this area in the Stone Age, and throughout the history, the country location was ideal for trade and commerce. Today, Azerbaijan, from the perspective of the capital city of Baku, has transformed itself into a polished country of luxury with glass skyscrapers and trendy malls. The country even began hosting a Formula One Grand Prix in 2017 and the European Games in 2015. But behind the glitz and glamour of the freshly paved streets of Baku, the country still deals with poverty. Here are ten facts about poverty in Azerbaijan.

  1. Azerbaijan was hit by a major economic shock in 2015 and 2016. In a study done for the Government of Azerbaijan in 2015, the GDP of the nation was decreased from 74.19 billion USD in 2014 to 34.9 billion USD in 2015. Understanding this fact is integral to understanding the poverty in the country, as in one year span the income per capita in the nation fell from $5,359.70 to $2,808.
  2. In 2017 the World Bank noted that Azerbaijan only experienced a “very modest recovery” from the recession that occurred in 2015-16. The country fell short in increasing the nominal average wage and the minimum cost of living enough to offset higher prices. The World Bank stated that poverty likely increased in 2017.
  3. The Asian Development Bank reported that in 2016 5.9 percent of the Azerbaijan population lived below the national poverty line, which is good compared to the neighbor countries Georgia and Armenia that had 21.3 percent and 29.4 percent of their populations, respectively, below the national poverty line in 2016.
  4. The Bank also reported that in 2016, 5 percent of the country’s population was unemployed. This is low compared with higher numbers in Armenia (18.4 percent) and Georgia (11.8 percent).
  5. In 2001 the State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan estimated that 49 percent of the population was below the national poverty line. This fact is a good illustration of the rapid decline in poverty that Azerbaijan has experienced during the 2000s.
  6. People living in rural areas have lower income. In a report done by the State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan in 2017, rural households achieved monthly income per capita of 151 USD, compared to 163 USD achieved in urban households.
  7. The number of households without access to a water was decreased from 37.6 percent in 2002 to 11.3 percent in 2018. In the same time, the percentage of the population connected to the sewage system increased from 86 percent in 2002 to 98.2 percent in 2018. These two figures reflect the macroeconomic trend of massive reduction in material deprivation in the country in recent decades.
  8. Internet access rose sharply from just 16.6 percent of household’s having internet access in 2005 to 77.2 percent in 2016.
  9. The number of graduates from higher education institutions increased in the country from 24,488 in 2000 to 37,506 in 2017, a figure that is extremely well for an economy that is trying to reduce its reliance on oil exports.
  10. Economic growth forecast of the country in 2018 expressed in GDP is projected to be 2.0%. This was reported by Azerbaijani news source in 2018. IMF increased this number for a GDP growth from 1.2% to 2.0%. This is an encouraging sign for an economy that suffered recent hardship and perhaps a realignment on the multi-decade long trend which has seen Azerbaijan experience much less material deprivation.

These ten facts about poverty in Azerbaijan show that the country stands at both a physical crossroad and at a metaphorical one. Extreme poverty in the country has been drastically reduced, but a continuance of the country’s economic dependence on oil makes the country susceptible to the economic crashes, similar to the one that happened in 2015, and the potential for poverty increase again. The country must decide how to diversify its economy and carry out its progress further into the future.

– William Carlos Menchaca
Photo: Google

A Developing Country: Bangladesh
As a new academic year draws near in the fall, we reminisce spring graduation celebrations for secondary and post-secondary students in the United States, but also the heralding of a special graduation for one South Asian nation. During the March 2018 review, the United Nations’ Committee for Development Policy (CDP) predicted Bangladesh to satisfy the criteria to become a developing country.

Bangladesh Growth

With just 47 years of independence, Bangladesh is expected to earn a status of a developing country from the least developed country in the next six years. The CDP will most likely recommend Bangladesh at its triennial review of least developed countries in 2021, and full endorsement is expected to follow at its 2024 meeting.

Consideration for becoming a developing country means demonstrating years of satisfactory human and economic advancements, and Bangladesh has been gaining on the developing community with precocious stride.

Foreign aid, non-government organizations and state-operated agencies have been key in Bangladesh’s development. Since 1973, the Asian Development Bank has assisted Bangladesh with $20.75 billion in aid. Close to 70 cents per dollar has been allocated to four sectors—energy, transportation, education and agriculture, as well as to natural resources and rural development.

Criteria for a Developing Country

Eligibility for becoming a developing country is based on three standards: an economic vulnerability index, a human assets index and per capita income. The United Nations’ most recent standards to graduate from least developed to a developing country are scores of 32 and below for its economic vulnerability index, scores of 66 and above for its human assets index, and a gross national income per capita of at least $1,230.

These thresholds must be met on two of the three categories for six years or the course of two successive, triennial Committee reviews. Bangladesh is on pace to fulfill all three requirements since its economic vulnerability, human assets and per capita income graduation thresholds were respectively met in 2003, 2015, and 2017.

Economic Vulnerability

Economic vulnerability is calculated considering eight factors: population size, the population living in low coastal zones, remoteness, the share of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, export instability, export concentration, and victims of natural disasters.

In a show of economic ascendancy and national pride, Bangladesh launched its first communications and broadcasting satellite, the Bangabandhu-1, transported by an American manufactured SpaceX rocket in May 2018. In addition to accelerating telecommunication development, the Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization has developed remote-sensing technology that can be used in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, water resources and oceanography. Remote sensors collect data on energy emitted from the Earth and can be used for shoreline erosion prevention, natural disaster preparation and natural resource management. This type of growth is vital to becoming a developing country.

Bangladesh’s strong textile and fabric industry drives 80 percent of the country’s export economy, the 57th largest in the world. Only China and the European Union topped Bangladesh’s clothing exports in 2015. Clothing exports made up almost 14 percent share ($26 billion) of Bangladesh’s 2015 gross domestic product (GDP).

Bangladesh has experienced GDP growth of 6 percent or more since 2011 and 7.3 percent in 2017, the second-most of all South Asian countries behind Bhutan.

Human Assets Index

Becoming a developing country also requires notable progress in education and health. The CDP’s human assets index is calculated by maternal and under-five infant mortality, malnourishment, gross literacy, and gross secondary school enrollment.

From 2011 to 2016, Bangladesh boosted its literacy rate from 47 to 73 percent. Room to Read, a non-profit organization, dedicated to girl’s education and child literacy in Asia and Africa, has opened 6,000 classroom libraries for over 300,000 Bangladesh children in 1,000 primary schools. The organization has concentrated its outreach in rural areas such as the Brahamanbaria District, a flood-prone area just 14 meters above sea level, and the Natore District, an agriculturally dependent rural area. Bangladesh has also reached all-time highs of secondary school enrollment rates: 72.5 percent for girls and 69 percent for both sexes.

The Strengthening Household Ability to Respond to Development Opportunities II (SHOUHARDO II)–Bangladesh project has reduced physical growth failure due to chronic malnutrition, known as stunting, by 13 percent in children under the age of five. Bangladesh villages affected by the SHOUHARDO II project are Cox’s Bazar, Mymensingh, Rangpur and Sirajganj regions. As part of the SHOUHARDO II project, women learned optimal breastfeeding, life-skills, and investment and finance strategies. This project also implemented a monthly food ration program consisting of wheat, vegetable oil and yellow split peas. There is also an indication of improving health conditions for women in Bangladesh as maternal mortality ratios dropped by 32 percent from 2012 to 2015.

Per Capita Income

With a current economy worth $686.5 billion and a gross national income per capita of $1,433, Bangladesh has exceeded the average least developed country for over 20 years. On its road to becoming a developing country, about 50 million people in Bangladesh have escaped extreme poverty (living on $1.90 a day) since 1991. This rate has declined from 40 percent to 14 percent today.

While Bangladesh still faces challenges, such as Rohingya refugees, overpopulation, flooding and insufficient sanitation, it is well on its way to becoming a developing country within the years to come.

Thomas Benjamin
Photo: Flickr

economic growth
Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, is the measure of goods and services produced in an economy — an often-used tool to measure the success of a nation’s economic growth. While this has been the main measure of success over the last century or so, many are starting to questions its effectiveness at measuring total welfare of a country. While it is important to look at other factors in country growth, GDP remains a key aspect of reflecting the top ten countries with growing business.

The average world GDP growth is slightly under 3 percent, annually. As of 2017, the following countries have made the top ten list of fastest growing economies; interestingly, they are all developing countries.

10 Countries Seeing Economic Growth

  1. Ethiopia: 8.3 Percent
    Ethiopia has predominantly been an agricultural country — a fact that is still one of the main sources of business used. However, the country is growing into other fields that shows promising investment opportunities, such as construction or real estate and manufacturing items that range from anything from consumer purchasing to company purchasing.At this point, income for the average citizen still remains at one of the lowest levels, but the continued economic growth has had a positive effect i.e. bringing extreme poverty from 55.3 percent in 2000 to 33.5 percent in 2011.
  2. Uzbekistan: 7.6 Percent
    Uzbekistan is mainly known for its natural gas, gold and copper exports; however, when Russia and China’s markets decreased, this had a directly negative impact on the nation from 2013 to 2016. The Uzbekistan government evaluated its form of market and created space for investment and business growth within its systems. This evaluation had a positive impact, as Uzbekistan moved from fifth on the GDP growth list in 2015 to second in 2017.
  3. Nepal: 7.5 Percent
    A good deal of business has been drawn to Nepal and developed within Nepal due to a need for basic resources such as water, electricity and communication within the nation, especially after the 2015 earthquake. While this market still exists, Nepal’s ability to take the natural disaster and use it as an opportunity to grow and develop is a sign of its imagination and strength.
  4. India: 7.2 Percent
    India is the highest country for outsourcing, and the nation’s ability to use its resources of education and skills has created a unique market to many other countries. Inequality still holds India back from reaching its full potential, but many are speaking out against caste systems and gender inequality, thus drawing attention to the varying gaps (wage and education) surrounding different demographics.
  5. Tanzania: 7.2 Percent
    Tanzania’s rapid economic growth has been attributed to its gold export and tourism influx, but this development has led to new business in energy fields, real estate, infrastructure and agriculture. Tanzania still remains one of the poorest, but this is mostly attributed to population growth rather than an inability to grow business as the poverty rate fell from 60 percent in 2007 to 47 percent in 2016.
  6. Djibouti: 7 Percent
    Djibouti is a small country next to Ethiopia based off the water — a location creating a perfect market for shipping and trade. The nation’s recent spike in economic growth has been largely attributed to foreign investors finding opportunities in port facilities and construction. While the extreme heat in the country and low resources on clean water is still a battle for many citizens, the steady growth of market and job opportunities will surely increase quality.
  7. Laos: 7 Percent
    Laos possesses rich natural resources and a high utilization for hydroelectricity. Its central location in southeast Asia created strong trade with its neighboring countries, and also a growing global interest in the nation has created increased levels of tourism.
  8. Cambodia: 6.9 Percent
    Cambodia is in a similar situation as Laos, particularly with being in the same region. While starting a business in Cambodia can be difficult, especially without bribes, the nation’s economy continues to develop with the help of tourism, natural resources and water-based operations.
  9. Myanmar: 6.9 Percent
    In the past, Myanmar attracted an influx of foreign investment due to its many opportunities to expand business fronts such as telecom, tourism, natural resources and infrastructure; however, foreign investment in the nation has dropped in recent years. In 2017, the Myanmar government began to make a real push to increase investment again by restructuring its government and economy to a democracy form of government (from a military-based one) and creating a more market-oriented economy.
  10. Philippines: 6.9 Percent
    Many tourists flock to the Philippines to visit inexpensive hotels and visit beautiful beaches, particularly in recent years,. While this interest has increased economic growth, Phllippinian stubbornness is actually what continues to keep the economy moving despite the nation’s corrupt government and natural disasters.

While citizens fight for more freedom and better business opportunities, the Philippines’ economy and quality of life will improve even more quickly once government and citizens are able to reach more amicable agreements.

– Natasha Komen

Photo: Flickr

In recent days, the United Nations has sought greater aid for Afghanistan’s most vulnerable population.

Those who qualify for humanitarian assistance in 2017 number at least 9.3 million—13 percent higher than last year and almost a third of its population. As Afghani people are displaced daily by the fighting between the Taliban and military groups, and thousands of refugees return from Pakistan and Iran, the government struggles to provide routine necessities for its people. A record of 8,397 civilians lost their lives due to the fighting in the first nine months of 2016, while another half a million people were displaced by last November. And so far, this trend is predicted to only grow.

But this wasn’t always the case. In fact, in 2014, it was believed that Afghanistan’s GDP would grow around 12 percent per year. This was prior to the international military force withdrawing from the country before it realized how fully Afghanistan’s economics depended on the foreign troops. Since 2002, foreign troops filled 800 bases, brought in hundreds of millions of dollars into their economy, and thus stood as Afghanistan’s single largest source of revenue. Their departure, then, was devastating. Annual GDP growth is now around one percent.

Afghan analyst Helena Malikyar wrote on the matter, “Projects attached to international aid – one of the largest sources of employment in the past decade – have for the most part shut down or placed in hibernation.”

The U.N.’s aid for Afghanistan, should it be received, will number 500 million dollars and will be given to the country’s 5.7 million most vulnerable population. Afghanistan currently carries malnutrition rates of about 15 percent in over a quarter of its provinces. Of the total 1.8 million people this affects, 1.3 million are children under the age of 5. Of the 9.3 million people in need of general aid, more than half are children. Not only facing malnutrition, the U.N. has reported abuse and exploitation, specifically through “forced marriage, sexual abuse and harmful child labor”.

While the U.N.’s aid for Afghanistan will assist a select group, it still will not be enough to end their plight. Until the Taliban’s insurgency ends and the economy is able to stand on its own, Afghanistan’s crisis must be watched carefully and tended to fervently.

Brenna Yowell

Photo: Flickr