Poverty in Developing Countries


Despite the numerous advancements that man has made in the 21st century, poverty continues to be rife in most of the developing countries of the world. This is despite most of these nations having significant amounts of natural resources which can be used to develop the nations. In addition to this, efforts by the international community to reverse this situation have to a large extent failed to make a significant difference alleviating poverty in the affected nations.

This begs the question of what is responsible for poverty in developing nations and how can the same be dealt with effectively. This paper shall argue that the problem of poverty in developing nations is as a result of the exploitation by developed nations as well as badly channeled aid efforts made by the rich nations of the world. This paper shall engage in concise but informative arguments to reinforce these assertions.

Poverty in Developing Countries

Most of the developing nations were at one time under colonial rule and while most were not rich in the pre colonial era, the rampant poverty that defines them today was not present. Keller (2007, p. 47) theorizes that which Africa in particular, poverty is as a direct result of the colonial rule which was characterized by gross exploitation and organized repression.

Even after independence was attained by African countries, the African-led regimes that replaced the colonizers had the same political structure as the ones of the oppressive colonizers. In addition to this, African countries continued to be economically dependent on their former colonial powers through uneven trade.

This argument may be countered by highlighting the fact that many developed nations have taken a keen interest in Africa by helping the continent integrate itself into the world economy through removing trade barriers and promoting peace. Additionally, the international community through such fronts as the World Bank and the IMF has offered financial. However, this is a double edged sword which has also contributed to the rise of poverty in African.

Keller (2009, p.50) notes that developing countries devote a significant portion of their annual GDP to debt servicing and repayment therefore reducing the amount of money that the countries could use to alleviate poverty. With regards to the free aid, undoubtedly, the developed nations of the world have made efforts to offer aid to the developing nations. However, most of the help offered comes with strings attached or is motivated by the national interests of the donor countries as opposed to a desire to alleviate poverty (Keller 2007).

One of the arguments advanced to explain the poverty in developing nations is that they lack natural resources. This suggestion was dismissed by the renowned economist Galbraith who asserted that a shortage of natural resources did not automatically lead to poverty as could be seen from Japan and Taiwan; both rising economies with poor natural resources (Peach 2008, p.25).

For this reasons, the rich nations of the world embark on aid in the form of physical products which are aimed at making the recipient country economically developed. Peach (2008, p.26) notes that while this help is well intentioned, it fails to consider the basic needs of the majority of the poor who lack in food, clothing, education and possibly lack skills. As such, any aid offered is often wasted as a result of lack of the capacity to use it effectively.

This claim may be refuted by pointing out the great good that economic aid did to the European nations after the Second World War. This demonstrates that aid in the form of physical products can help boost a nation from desolation into being a major economy. However, the realities of the European nations in which economic aid packages had positive results cannot be compared to developing nations. This is because Europeans already had skilled manpower and basic needs and all that was lacking was the capital.

Social factors also play a role in the propagation of poverty in developing countries. While all nations of the world are afflicted with natural disasters and physical and mental health issues, people in developing countries are afflicted more due to lack of adequate support. As such, people and especially women in developing countries are more prone to depression and other mental issues which reduce their productivity thus contributing to the poverty problem.

Miller (2005, p.1577) notes that while the most disadvantaged women in the society have higher rates of depression than those in more favorable circumstances. This depression coupled with issues such as unemployment, low income and domestic violence has resulted in prevalence in suicide rates amongst women in developing nations.

This connection between depression and poverty can be alleviated through assisting the developed nations achieve success. This is through aid and other assistances which have led to the emergence of rising economies. However, Miller (2005) notes that this does not necessary result in better mental health since it leads to growing income disparities which further increases risk of depression and as such poverty.


It is unlikely that developing nations will be able to rise from its poverty on their own. It has been suggested that trade liberalization is the only way in which developing nations can bridge the gap between themselves and the developed nations. Acting on this, the World Trade Organization has works towards achieving free trade on a global scale.

However, this stance fails to consider many specific realities of the developing nations. Armstrong (2008) notes that in the case of Bangladesh, trade liberalization played a part in the countries growth in GDP but it is the macroeconomic advancements that are responsible for the bulk of the growth.

A lack of access to capital has been blamed on the poverty cases in most developing countries. This being the case, it would stand to reason that access to capital would result in alleviation of poverty. This is what microcredit programs which lend to the poor propose to do. Feiner and Barker (2006, p.10) reveal that this programs supposedly empower women therefore resulting in economic independence which translates to poverty alleviation.

Feiner and Barker lament that microcredit programs do nothing about the structural conditions which lead to poverty in the first place and as such are doomed to fail (Feiner & Barker 2006, p.10). This is the same condition with economic aid offered to developing nations which only consists of monetary packages.


This paper set out to argue that the problem of poverty in developing nations is as a result of the exploitation by developed nations as well as badly channeled aid efforts. These propositions have been reinforced through arguments backed by various authoritative sources.

This paper has shown that the wealthier international community will have to play a significant role to help reverse this situation since as this paper has suggested, the rich countries are to a great percentage responsible for the developing nation’s current poverty crises. However, the kind of help given needs to be more focused as monetary aid packages have been seen to provide only minimal help to the poor. Changing the structural conditions that lead to poverty has been hailed as being key to solving the developing world’s poverty crises.


Armstrong, D. 2008, Is Bigger Better? Using market incentives, Fazle Hassan Abeds antipoverty group helped pull Bangladesh out of the ashes. Next up: Africa, Forbes 66 Vol 181 Issue 11.

Feiner, S. F. & Barker, D. K. 2006, Microcredit and Women’s Poverty. American Research Library.

Keller, J. E. 2007, Africa in transition: facing the challenges of globalization. (for better or worse? Courting Africa). Harvard International Review 29.2.

Miller, G. 2005, poor Countries, Added Perils for Women. Science, 2005; 308, 5728; Academic Research library pg. 1576.

Peach, J. 2008, Galbraith and the problem of uneven development, Journal of Economic Issues 42.1: p25(11).