Chapter one contains the introduction, background to the study, it also discussed statement of problem, purpose of study, significance of study, limitation of study, scope of study, and methodology.

In chapter two the researcher reviewed relevant literatures citing various authors.

In chapter three the researcher examined the history of Nigeria, Nigeria as a third world country.

In chapter four he enumerated. on the meaning of imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, he also highlighted dependency, technological development, industrialization, globalization, population, human recourses, education etc.

In chapter five focused on the summary, recommendation and conclusion of the study.














Title Page                                                                                                                 i

Certification                                                                                                            ii

Dedication                                                                                                              iii

Acknowledgement                                                                                                iv

Abstract                                                                                                                  v

Table of Contents                                                                              vi                    


Background to the Study                                                                                      1

Statement of Problem                                                                                          4

Objectives of the Study                                                                                         5

Significance of Study                                                                                             5

Scope of the Study                                                                                                6

Limitations of Study                                                                                              6

Methodology                                                                                                         6

Definition                                                                                                               7

Endnotes                                                                                                                8



Definition of Development                                                                                  9

What Is Under Development                                                                       11

Notes & References                                                                                      15



The Creation and Evolution of Nigeria Nation                                           16

Nigeria as A Third World (Underdeveloped Or Developing) Country     20

Notes and References                                                                                   25



Introduction                                                                                                  26

Imperialism/Colonialism/Neo-Colonialism                                               26

Dependency                                                                                                   30

Technological Development /Industrialization                                         31

Globalization                                                                                                 33

Population                                                                                                     35

Human Resources                                                                                         36

Education Research and Development                                                       38

Research and Development                                                                        41

External Influence                                                                                         42

The Role of Government                                                                              44

Notes and References                                                                                   47



Summary                                                                                                       50

Recommendation                                                                                         51

Conclusion                                                                                                     56

Note and References                                                                                    57







The use of the ‘terms’ the first, the second and the third World is rough and it is safe to say, outdated model of geopolitical world from the time of the cold war. There is actually no official definition of the first, second, and the third world.

After the world War II, the world split into two large geopolitical blocs and spheres of influences with contrary views on government and the politically correct society.

1.     The bloc of democracy – industrial countries within the American influence sphere, the “First World”

2.       The Eastern bloc of the communist – socialist states, the ‘Second World’

3.     The remaining three – quarters of the world population, states not aligned with either bloc were regarded as the ‘Third World’

4.     The term ‘Fourth World’, coined in the early 1970s by Shuswap Chief George Manuel to widely unknown nations (Cultural Entities) of indigenous peoples. “First Nations” living within or across national state boundaries.

The term “Third World” refers to all the other countries, today often used to roughly describe the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. The term ‘Third World’ includes as well as capitalist (e.g Venezuela) and communist (e.g Korea) countries, as very rich (e.g Saudi Arabia and very poor (e.g Mali) countries.

The origin of the terminology is unclear. In 1952, Alfred Sauvy, a French demographer, wrote an article in the French magazine L’Observateur which ended by comparing the Third World with the Third Estate: Ce Tiers Monde ignoré exploité, méprisé  Commele Tiers État (this ignored Third World, exploited, scorned like the Third Estate). Other sources claim that Charles de Gaulle coined the term ‘Third World’, maybe de Gaulle only quoted Sauvy.

It is also termed a collective term of French origin taken up by American writers, for those states who did not regard themselves as members of either the developed capitalist or developed communist. In fact, ‘First World’ came up in connection with Bandung Conference and other attempts (especially by Nehru, Surkano and Nasser) to bring together the internationally aligned countries sharing the same characteristics. They are thus classified by their state of economic development as 'underdeveloped’, less developed' or 'developing states'.

Despite everevolving definitions, the concept of the third world serves to identify countries that 'suffer from high infant mortality, low economic development, high levels of poverty, low utilization of natural resources, and heavy dependence on industrialized nations. These are the developing and technologically less advanced nations of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America. Third world nations tend to have economies dependent on the developed countries and are generally characterized as poor with unstable governments and having high rates of population growth, illiteracy, and disease. A key factor is the lack of a middle class with impoverished millions in a vast lower economic class and a very small elite upper class controlling the country's wealth and resources. Most third world nations also have a very large foreign debt. (What makes a nation third world? from Encyclopedia of World Geography)

There are 50 countries listed in the United Nations comparative analysis of poverty, 34 Africa countries, 10 Asian countries, 5 Pacific Island nations and 1 Caribbean nations. Therefore the Third World countries are the least developed countries. (LDCs) are a group of countries that have been identified by the UN as “least developed”

It is interesting to note that United Nations used the following three criteria for the identification of the LDCs just as have being stated earlier above.

1.     A low income estimate of the gross national income (GNI) per capita.

2.     Their weak human assets

3.     Their high degree of economic vulnerability

4.     Life Expectancy Index (LEI):

i.                    Life expectancy at birth (in years);

ii.                  Education Index (EI) mean years of Schooling (in years) and

iii.                 Income Index (II) per capita income and

5.     Low human development

Many of these countries share a colonial past and strong resentment against imperialism. Hence the so called ‘third world’ is no more than the backyard of imperialism.

As a concept, it groups together the under-developed countries exploited by imperialism, under a special heading implying at least that they comprise a special area within the imperialist camp.

Furthermore, they are poor and largely over-populated with population explosion and are growing poorer by comparison with the industrialized nations in foreign policy, following the Indian example as many to them favoured to be neutral (non - aligned). It should be of note that they form one-third of the United nations membership. Also, it should be noted that, more recently, some writers have begun to distinguish between the third world, which they confine to those developing countries with rich natural resources such as the oil producing states of the Middle East and the fourth world which are counted as underdeveloped countries which have no such resources and little, if any, prospect of development. All in all, third world evokes the feeling in one to acknowledge that their emancipation is a necessity.

Walter Rodney ascribes that "development in human society is a many sided process". At the level of the individual, it implies increased skill and 'capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self discipline, responsibility and material well being. Development is often synonymous with modernization. It has been define as a widely participatory process of social and material advancement (including greater equality, freedom and other values) for the majority of the people through gaining greater control of their environment. Berger sees development as good growth; and desirable modernization because, according to him, the values that need to be injected into the definition are those that aim at minimizing human costs.

Development is the desirable discourse to be taken by human being in a particular situation. It aims at the satisfaction of man's economic and socio-cultural needs in the most effective and rational way. These include economic development, human development, physical quality of life, human freedom, gender-related development and gender empowerment.

Challenges of development that have characterized the ‘third world' countries should not be over stressed. These include imperialism (exploitation-suppressive development plan by the exploiting developed capitalist nations), neo - colonialism, dependency, industrialization, human resources, poverty and pollution, increased burden of government and governance, lack of freedom, alienation, disease, research and development, education,. intra expert group conflict. Technological Organization - IMF, World Bank to mention but a few.



The expression ‘Third World’ which one often comes across in development literature as well as in public discourse, came into use in 1956 to imply that the countries covered by it depend either on the capitalist or the socialist system and therefore that they belong to neither the former two worlds; the developed capitalist or the developed communist.

The third world includes most countries of Latin America and recently independent states of Asia with exclusion of Mainland China and Taiwan and Africa except South Africa. There is also OECD enumerated which includes Turkey and poor countries of Southern Europe. The following questions will guide the study;

i.                    What constitutes the Third World Countries?

ii.                  What is under development and development?

iii.                What challenges are third world countries going through in terms of under development

iv.               How does this affect Nigeria as a Third World country?



The objective or purpose of this study is to;

i.        Highlight which countries make up the ‘third world’ or under developed countries

ii.      Give an insight into what development is and developed countries.

iii.    Discuss the challenges of development in third world countries.



The ultimate goals and target of the study are therefore directed to enable countries, students and stake-holders, and the world at large to:

i.        Have a clear understanding of the characteristics of third world countries of underdeveloped Countries

ii.      Have a better understanding of the reason why the countries are not developed

iii.    Understand those challenges that have impeded development and how they can affect Nigeria as a third world country despite her richness in petroleum recourses.



The study is limited to third world countries and the challenges of development. Nigeria is used as a case study because of the fact that she is a third world country and one of largest.



The problem of shortage of time in carrying out the research. So, it becomes very difficult for the researcher to research in a wider scope. Therefore, the information contained therein, is limited, to the space of time allowed.

With the present bad economy and financial problem in Nigeria today, funds is not enough for the research work in all the various areas mentioned.

Finally, there also shortage of research centre and workshops and materials. So the research will be based on the much information available within reach.



Relevant methodology suitable for the study were employed. For example, primary and secondary materials were used. Other relevant methods- will be applied to gather necessary materials for the completion of the work.




Human Development Index (HDI): A composite index measuring average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development-a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living.

Life Expectancy at Birth: Number of years a newborn infant could expect to live if prevailing patterns of age-specific mortality rates at the time of birth stay the same throughout the infant's life.

Mean Years of Schooling: Average number of years of education received by people ages 25 and older, converted from education attainment levels using official durations of each level.

Expected Years of Schooling: Number of years of schooling that a child of school entrance age can expect to receive if prevailing patterns of age-specific enrolment rates persist throughout the child's life.

Gross National Income (GNI) per capita: Aggregate income of an economy generated by its production and its ownership of factors of production, less the incomes paid for the use of factors of production owned by the rest of the world, converted to international dollars using Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) rates, divided by midyear population.

GNI per capita Rank minus HDI rank: Difference in rankings by GNI per capita and by the HDI. A negative value means that the country is better ranked by GNI than by the HDI.

Non income HDI: Value of the HDI computed from the life expectancy and education indicators only.

LDC: Least Developed Countries

LHD: Low Human Development



1. G.O. Unanka (2001): National Developed Approaches And Prospective. All-Ages, Owerri, Nigeria 2001 p81.

2.    Alan, Bullock and Oliver (1977) Stallyrass (Eds): The   Harper Dictionary of Modern Thought. Harpe and Row London, 1977 p.634

3.    Opcit Unanka p.81.

4.    Opcit Alan, Bullock and Oliver –Stallybrass

5.    A. Walter Rodney (1976): How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Bogleh O' Ouverture London and Tanzania publishing House Da-re-Salaam, p.9

6.    Berger, P.C. (1976): Pyramids Sacrifice. Anchor Broks New York p.59




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