Third World Countries
Originally referring to countries aligned with neither the West nor the East Communist Bloc during the cold war, the term "third world countries" now refers to less developed countries of Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania. Typically characterized by widespread poverty among the general population and extreme wealth among the elite, production-oriented economies dependent on western markets, high population growths and traditional social structures, some third-world countries are also noted for the suppression of political and civil rights. Examples of third world countries per category are as follows:
- Myanmar, Somalia, Sudan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. These countries have the worst records of political and civil rights repression among third world countries. With the state exercising control over almost all aspects of daily life, political opposition, independent organizing and criticism of the government are banned and punished in these countries.
- Timor-Leste, Malawi, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. These countries were classified as the poorest countries based on 2005 International Monetary Fund (IMF) data on the average annual income of citizens.
- Zambia, Sierra Lone, Rwanda, Malawi and Mozambique. Posted the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) based on 2004 UN Human Development Report data. HDI is computed based on the human development dimensions of life expectancy, adult literacy rates and standard of living measured by income.
- Angola and Benin in Africa; Afghanistan and Bangladesh in Asia; Kiribati and Samoa in the Pacific; and Haiti in the Caribbean. These countries were among the world’s least developed countries (listed alphabetically) classified by the UN based on low-income; weakness of human assets in terms of nutrition, health, and education; and vulnerability of economies.
- Tunisia, Maldives, Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Posted the worst records in terms of "freedom of the press" according to the Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005 Report. Also referred to as the "black holes" for news, these countries allow neither privately-owned media nor freedom of expression.