Third World Countries, what are they, who are they?

People usually recognize “the third world countries”as less industrialized countries, countries with extreme poverty,epidemics, wars and economics disadvantages. However, there is a definite term for it: The term Third World was originally coined in times of the Cold War to distinguish those nations that are neither aligned with the West (NATO) nor with the East, the Communist bloc. Today the term is often used to describe the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania[1].

Here is a list of countries claimed themselves as the “third World” countries by categories

  • Third World Countries in terms of Political Rights and Civil Liberties.
  • Third World Countries in terms of their Gross National Income (GNI)
  • Third World Countries in Terms of their Human Development
  • Third World Countries in Terms of Poverty
  • Third World Countries in Terms of Press Freedom

*Within the Scope of this class, we will only address third world countries in terms of

  1. Poverty and Gross National Income (GNI)  which related to energy resources/ reserve.

———–Countries with the least gross national income based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) per capita in U.S.  Dollars.

The annual income earned by a citizen of a certain country is called (PPP per capita) For example:a citizen of Malawi can spend $ 1.6 a day to make a living,
a citizen of Eritrea $ 2.5, the average US citizen spends $ 114 daily.
Below countries with an average yearly income per capita and year under $ 1000,
poorest nations first.

* Sources from IMF — International Monetary Fund, World economic outlook Data base,April 2005. CIA The World Fact book (Cover countries not mentioned by the IMF information may refer to 2004 or earlier)


Surprisingly, MOST OF THE third world countries no doubt have a low GDP per capita. From the data above , it is not difficult to infer the financial condition of these countries, there mainly three conditions: first, the country has easily extractable sources but lack of man power and finance capabilities; second, on has no easily extractable natural resources. In the next few sections, we will introduce energy sources in the third world countries geographically.