Home Economics Business Studies Search the Guru Links Message Boards Contacts

The Similarities And Differences Between Developing Countries



  • Low living standards – these include low income per capita, high income inequality, widespread poverty, lack of access to resources, malnutrition, poor health and short life spans. For example in Ethiopia ( HDI Rank 174) GNP per capita is $478, 19.9% pop live on less than $1 per day, the Gini Coefficient of income equality is 38.2, only 32% pop have access to safe water and 21% have sanitation and male life expectancy is at a demoralising 44 years.
  • Low F.of P. productivity- Labour productivity is low due to insufficient resources and those resources available are usually of low quality. Machinery, if available at all, is low quality and inefficient. Infrastructure is poor and thus movement of capital and labour is inhibited. For example in Brazil only 9.3% of roads are of good condition. People are also lacking in skills due to the either complete lack of or poor quality of education. This is improving but will take years to filter through into a skilled working population.
  • High population growth – averaging 2.4% annually in low income countries (excluding India and China). This is in comparison to high income countries where it is 0.7%.
  • High unemployment levels – either the labour resources is not used at all, or it is underused. Either way it is inefficient. This may be due to the poor education resulting in skill shortages, but also to the lack of investment, and therefore job opportunities, seen in low income countries.
  • Narrowly focused economies – there is the common trait of dependence upon one resource or exporting product. Typically in agriculture for LEDC’s and especially in Africa. There are some developing countries that are diversifying but agriculture still contributes to a large proportion of their GDP.
  • A dualistic economy – this can be seen in two aspects. Firstly between the agriculturally dependent rural areas and the industrialising urban areas. And also between the affluent minority and the poor masses.



  • Historical factors – some countries, especially those in Asia and Africa, were colonies belonging to European countries. Therefore unlike some countries in Latin America for instance they may devote more effort to restoring their political and economic independence than striving for industrialisation.
  • Political volatility – it is a recognised fact that a countries political decisions greatly effect its economic progress. Thus politically stable countries such as those in Asia have been able to see fast growth whilst others have been held back by political instability.
  • Public/Private sectors – the trend has been to increase private sector activity and decrease public sector activity. This still varies greatly though, with SE Asian and Latin American countries tending to have the larger private sectors.
  • Resources available – both physical and human resources available determine growth capacity. Some countries have access to physical resources such as minerals (South Africa) and oil (Iraq). Other countries have larger human resources than others as they have larger populations. But this can cause problems such as dependence and tension between different demographic groups.
  • Geographical restrictions – all countries are different shapes and sizes and have different degrees of access. It is more difficult for instance for a landlocked country in central Africa to trade for instance, than it is for a country by the coast with a port.



E-mail Steve Margetts