developing countries

(economics) A broad range of countries that generally lack a high degree of industrialization, infrastructure and other capital investment, sophisticated technology, widespread literacy, and advanced living standards among their populations as a whole. The developing countries are sometimes collectively designated as the “South,” because a large number of them are in the Southern Hemisphere. All of the countries of Africa (except South Africa), Asia and Oceania (except Australia, Japan and New Zealand), Latin America, and the Middle East are generally considered “developing countries” as are a few European countries (Cyprus, Malta, Turkey and countries of the former Yugoslavia, for example). Some experts differentiate four subcategories of developing countries as having different economic needs and interests: (1) A few relatively wealthy Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) countries– sometimes referred to as oil exporting developing countries–share a particular interest in a financially sound international economy and open capital markets; (2) Newly Industrializing Countries (NlCs) have a growing stake in an open international trading system; (3) A number of middle income countries–principally commodity exporters–have shown a particular interest in commodity stabilization schemes; and (4) More than 30 very poor countries (“least developed countries”) are predominantly agricultural, have sharply limited development prospects during the near future, and tend to be heavily dependent on official development assistance.

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