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Tackling Underdevelopment

What is the best way to integrate developing countries into the global economy?

October 30, 2001

What is the best way to integrate developing countries into the global economy?

In all the past talk about the economic bull run, subsequent economic slowdown and hopes for a quick recovery, it was often forgotten that 1.3 billion people — or a quarter of the world’s population — live in utter poverty. There is a huge difference between being poor in a Western country and in, say, sub-Saharan Africa. It is a difference that can well mean life or death. This first installment of our new Globalist Factsheet on developing countries takes a look at the fate of the people living in those countries.

How many people live in developing countries?

In 2000, over 4.4 billion people — or 65% of the world’s current total population of 6.8 billion — live in developing countries.

(United Nations)

How much of the world’s population growth occurs in developing countries?

As of 1999, the global population is growing at a rate of 80 million people a year. Of those, 76 million — or 95% — are born in developing countries.

(Le Monde)

Will the world population ever stabilize?

Fertility rates for developed countries have fallen from 2.8 children per woman in the early 1950s to 1.5 by 1997. In contrast, the fertility rate in developing countries has fallen from six to just under three. If this decline continues, the world’s population will stabilize in 40 years at 7.7 billion — and begin to decline thereafter.

(Washington Post)

How educated are people in developing countries?

As of 1997, there are 842 million illiterate people living in all developing countries, accounting for roughly 20% of their total population.

(UK Department for International Development)

Where do most people live in developing countries?

50 years ago, only 18% of the population of developing countries resided in cities. In 2000, that figure has jumped to 40%. And by 2030, it is estimated that 56% of the developing world will live in cities.

(Washington Post)

How big will cities be in the future?

By 2015, an estimated 564 cities around the world will have populations of at least one million. Of these, 425 — or more than 75% — will be in developing countries.

(Washington Post)

What is the age structure of the population in developing countries?

As of 1997, half the population in developing countries was under 23 years old.

(UK Department for International Development)

What is their life expectancy?

As of 1997, 507 million people in developing countries are not expected to survive to the age of 40.

(UK Department for International Development)

What is the reason for this?

By 2020, tobacco is expected to become the biggest killer in most developing countries — causing more deaths than AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, automobile crashes, homicides and suicides combined.

(U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

What effect does poverty have on children in developing countries?

As of early 2001, at least 120 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 in developing countries are fully at work.

(Economic Strategy Institute)

How much does warfare disrupt economic development?

Between 1980 and 2000, agricultural production losses stemming from military conflicts in developing countries have exceeded total food aid to those countries.

(United Nations)

Finally, what does the digital divide look like in real life?

95% of Internet users are in G8 countries — while half of the people in developing countries have never even used a telephone.

(International Herald Tribune)