The developing world, or what is commonly referred to as poor Third and Fourth World countries, have undergone numerous changes during the past three decades. Targets for government programs, non-governmental organizations, and lending institutions primarily aimed at rural development and population control, some of these countries have become remarkable success stories while others have become international basket cases worse off today than 40 years ago.
Asia boasts the largest number of success stories. Countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and the British colony of Hong Kong emerged in the early 1980s as surprising success stories as the economies recorded annual GNP growth rates in excess of 10 percent. These countries, in turn, became major investors in other developing countries during the late 1980s as they sought cheaper labor abroad as well as new markets for their products. Other Asian nations, such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, are quickly following suit as they become the great success stories of the 1990s.
Job opportunities in these countries have significantly shifted from governmental and nongovernmental organizations heavily involved in rural development and population policy to international businesses involved in the rapid industrialization and expansion of the urban service sectors. In some cases bilateral development assistance to these countries has nearly ended as international businesses play a central role in the economic expansion of these take-off economies. Individuals interested in rural development work will find few opportunities in these countries while opportunities for entrepreneurs will abound.
However, most of the developing world is not a success story. It remains mired in poverty, hunger, overpopulation, and political instability; environmental problems appear out of control. Either unable or unwilling to control runaway population growth and inflation as well as attract investors willing to take major risks, these countries require a great deal of development assistance from foreign governments and nongovernmental organizations to keep them economically afloat.
In addition, many communist and ex-communist regimes, such as Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and former Eastern European block countries and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union are economic "basket cases" requiring massive infusions of foreign capital and investment as well as bilateral aid.
Many developing countries, especially in Africa, Latin America, and South Asia, are likely to continue with major development problems due to runaway population growth that effectively cancels what small economic development gains they make. In addition, many of these countries are likely to receive less bilateral aid as major donor nations reprogram assistance to Eastern Europe and the newly independent nations of the former Soviet Union. As a result, nongovernmental organizations will play an even more important role in the developing countries of Africa, Latin America, and South Asia.
Important political and economic changes that took place in the communist world from 1989 to 1991 will have far reaching consequences on the way government and business deals with the developing world over the next decade. Initially more and more government resources and business efforts will be concentrated on these developing economies.
However, since the developing world now is home for 77 percent of the world's population and it's rapid population growth rates will put this percentage at 80 by the turn of the century, renewed efforts to solve the problems of developing countries will continue over the next decade. This means more job opportunities with nongovernmental organizations, multinational firms, and small businesses in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. (Read this before or Continue Reading)