Successes in the developing world

You are here

Successes in the developing world

It would be wrong to class the entire developing world as being exactly the same. Differences exist within the countries and between the countries. Two of the significant groups are discussed below:

The 1970s saw huge increases in the price of oil as Arab countries withheld supply. This meant that any developing country with oil suddenly had a source of great wealth.

Oil rig

Those without faced a major disadvantage as they too had to pay the inflated price for fuel.

The consequence for countries with oil was that they could now invest money in trying to alleviate poverty and promote education and health.

Many also invested in industries that refined oil adding great value to their export. Additional profits were invested in overseas ventures or loaned to other countries. As a consequence many of these countries found great wealth.

The average wage of a person in Kuwait is the highest in the world! (The Sheik who controls the country's oil is one of the richest people in the world taking 50% of all oil profits - this will obviously have some effect on the average income calculations.)

Kuwait has about 699 people per doctor - the UK has 619. It also has 100% access to clean water and 94% primary school enrolment. (Figure for 1989, from Collins Longman Atlas.)

Newly industrialised countries are those that have recently had substantial growth in their manufacturing output and consequently exports. They include South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Raw materials

Many have followed a similar system. Firstly the country invests in industries that can produce goods they would normally import and supports these new industries by putting extra taxes on imported goods to make them un-competitive.

Then when these industries are established they look to replicate many of the products in the world export market. They concentrate on high technology industries, first mimicking existing products then improving them. Their economy typically grows by about 6-8% a year.

South Korea, for example, took advantage of its links with the USA. The USA, Japan and Europe provided the country with significant aid payments that it invested in Iron, Steel, Shipbuilding, textiles and chemicals so it no longer had to import these.

It also imported raw cotton and developed a textile industry. Once these were all established it invested in industries that would export products such as computers, televisions and microwaves.

As a consequence, South Korea has full primary school enrolment and a growing GDP. In 1989, it was $4081 per person. (Collins Longman Atlas).

These two case studies are illustrative of the differences that exist within the developing world. This table will also help illustrate this:

United Kingdom: Kuwait: South Korea: Ethiopia:
GDP $/person: 14 477 10 189 4 081 114
Life expectancy: 76 73 70 45
Adult literacy: 100 67.5 87.6 62.4

All figures for 1989 (Collins Longman Atlas)