Top 15 Myths About Developing Countries

Poverty, hunger, unemployment and corruption are the things that dominate your head while thinking of developing countries. It is certainly not your fault, as you have been led to believe that developing countries are helpless and they suffer from a lot of problems. The documentaries and movies which portray naked and malnourished children of African continent surely tug at your heart strings. Well, we are about to do some myth busting and change your opinion on how you perceive developing countries.

Here are top 15 myths that you have been led to believe:

  1. People living in developing countries are poor

The first thing that comes into the minds of people while thinking about developing countries, is that poverty is widespread in such countries. People of developed countries believe that most people in developing countries can barely afford basic human amenities and are living in inhuman environment. This is no merit behind this, as there are many developing countries which are growing at a fast pace and their per capita income as well as their living conditions are almost at par with developed countries. On the other hand, there are people who live in poverty even though they belong to a developed country.

  1. There is income inequality in developing countries

It is generally believed that there is a wide gap between rich and poor people in developing countries. People think that the rich people in developing countries are very few and they hold all power and money whereas the poor people live in misery. Income equality in some developed countries like USA, Australia and Canada etc. are on par with India (developing country) and even Kazakhstan has higher income equality than most developed countries. There are also a lot of millionaires and billionaires from developing countries like India, China and South Africa.

  1. Developing countries are unclean

When people from developed countries envisage developing countries, they see a country littered with garbage, overflowing sewers and bad air quality. Developed countries like USA and Britain, tend to dump their waste in developing countries, thus adding to the problem of garbage but it is not true for all developing countries as many developing countries like China, Brazil, Ukraine and India are moving towards a clean, garbage free place. Campaigns like Swachh Bharat in India have been announced to improve the state of cleanliness in the country and many more developing countries are following the suit to make their country garbage free.

  1. Developing countries survive on aid

It is generally believed that most developing countries depend on grants and financial packages from International Monetary Fund, United Nations and other developed countries. Surely countries like Syria, Palestine, Greece require such aid packages, but this is not true for all developing countries; instead countries like India, China, South Africa, Russia are providing aid to other unfortunate countries as a show of their goodwill. It is wrong to believe that developing countries survive only on handouts from superior powers. Developing countries have their own economy and their own methods of generating capital required for various development projects as well as for welfare of the people.

  1. Developing countries have no industries of their own

Popular belief is that developing countries have very domestic industries and they rely on foreign companies to set up facilities in their country for producing products. Companies like Alibaba, Rosneft, TATA, MTN Group, which belong to developing countries are one of the top companies in the world in their respective sectors. They are big MNCs in their own right and they earn billions of dollars in revenue with top notch talent heading these companies. Many domestic companies of developing countries are giving companies of developed countries a run for their money and they are slowly changing the dynamics of the business world.

  1. People of developing countries are illiterate

This is a commonly believed myth and many people believe that people from developing countries are educationally stifling and they cannot compete with the kids of developed countries. Well, this has been proven wrong by many awards and accolades that have been received by people from developing countries, as in top international level competitions the Chinese, Koreans and Indians have beaten others easily. Developing countries like Ukraine, Russia, Estonia, Poland and Belarus lead the world as the countries with the highest literacy rate, thus surpassing several developed countries like USA, Canada and U.K.

  1. Developing countries lack any cultural history

Developing countries are portrayed in a manner which depicts a lack of cultural heritage. People think that, since these countries are poor, they overlook their history and culture. Mughal Empire, Han Dynasty, Russian Empire, Indus Valley civilization are some of the examples of vivid and colorful history of some developing countries. These civilizations of the past were mighty and powerful, in addition to being considered developed in their own time. Just because the present situation is different, it doesn’t mean that developing countries did not have a bright history, which the citizens feel proud of. Many of the developing countries have places which have been designated as a UNESCO heritage site.

  1. Developing countries are short on natural resources

This is a common notion that developing countries are low on natural resources and they have to rely on other countries to fulfil their needs. This is a complete myth, as there are many developing countries who are world leaders when it comes to certain natural resources. Countries in Africa as well several Middle Eastern countries possess vast oil reserves and their economy is heavily dependent on theses oil reserves. South American countries as well some Asian countries are world leaders in production of several minerals and other commodities such as rice, cotton etc. Many companies from developed countries are trying to invest in developing countries, so as to become a beneficiary of the vast swathes of natural resources that these countries possess.

  1. Developing countries are corrupt

People believe that, the reason why developing countries are underdeveloped, is because these countries are suffering from corruption, which has prevented development from happening. People think bribery, cronyism and kleptocracy are rampant in developing countries, which is completely false. Countries like Uruguay, Estonia, Bahamas, Chile and Bhutan are one of the least corrupt countries and are on par with developed countries when it comes to tackling corruption. Also, countries like India, China, Russia and Brazil are taking steps to stop corruption so as to fast forward the process of development in the country and remove vices such as red tapism. There is a lot of corruption in developed countries also, but it gets highlighted more in developing countries and becomes a prime reason for blaming them to be underdeveloped.

  1. Technologically backward

In present times it is hard to think of countries like India, China, Korea, Brazil and South Africa as technologically illiterate. In developed countries like USA, Germany and U.K, there is a huge demand for Indian and Chinese techies and there are many technological companies which have their roots in developing countries. Companies like Infosys, Samsung, Tencent, HCL Technologies and Konga are some of the companies which are making an impact in the global market of information technology, and are classified as some of the biggest IT companies in the world. China and India are the world’s biggest technological markets due their huge population and also because of the rising use of technology, which has led to a technological revolution. Africa is fast catching on the technology train and there are many opportunities present in African technological sector.

  1. Developing countries will only develop if they adopt western culture

It is generally said that poverty comes from the culture of a country. Although, there are some aspects of a culture like patriarchal society and gender inequality, which may hinder country’s development but it solely depends on the policies of the government, as development is based on the policies and views of the government. If the government is modern and pro-development then it will surely usher prosperity in the nation and help the country to overcome the challenges that plague developing countries. Thus, embracing a certain culture will not help a country to progress, instead the leaders of such countries should be interested in development.

  1. Developing countries suffer from internal strife and are unsafe

When someone imagines a developing country there are several things that come into mind like war, unrest and unsafe environment. None of these things hold true for most developing countries and many are classified as peaceful countries, ranking on the HDI index. Countries like Costa Rica and Puerto Rico are some of the happiest countries in the world and ranked above some developed countries. It proves that people in most developing countries are happy and it is not true that developing countries are embroiled in civil war or are unsafe and dangerous.

  1. There are less employment opportunities in developing countries

There are some people from developing countries who are going abroad for studying or for employment opportunities. This doesn’t mean, that there are no employment opportunities in developing countries or the education infrastructure and environment in these countries are not up to the mark. There are many current and future employment opportunities which are being generated as more and more people are realizing the importance of developing countries. Most of the developing countries have such a policy, which facilitates easy setting up of business by MNCs, and this helps to generate good employment opportunities. There are also many universities like JNU, IIT, Moscow State University and Tsinghua University which provide top notch education and many famous people have obtained their degrees from these universities.

  1. Most of the developing nations are in Africa

This is a commonly believed misconception that most of the developing countries are from Africa and they are ones which suffer from all the perils of an underdeveloped country.  While it’s true that most of the developing countries are in Africa but there are also some developing countries in Asia and South America. Most people refer to Africa as one country with same culture but what they don’t realize, is that Africa is a fully fledged continent with 54 countries, with different cultures and identities. This is clearly wrong, as generalizing a continent is unfair to individual countries which are really standing out and doing well in terms of development.

  1. Developing countries suffer from hunger and diseases

You might have seen this in movies and some documentaries which portray developing countries as a hotbed of diseases and full of people who are dying of hunger. Well, countries like Brazil, India, Vietnam, China and Argentina have proved this myth wrong and these countries have implemented schemes like Green Revolution (India) and Bosla Family (Brazil), to ensure that people don’t starve and there is no shortage of food. Many developing countries have developed a top notch health care system, which easily rivals that of foreign countries and certain medical institutions in developing countries provide world class medical care at almost half the cost at which the developed countries do. Many developing countries are working towards eradicating diseases like small pox, polio and measles and some of them have successfully eradicated these diseases.


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