Tag: developing countries

Many new regional trade agreements (RTAs) and bilateral trade agreements have been signed in recent years. In a report – Signing away the future – Oxfam has argued that these trade agreements may often significantly disadvantage the poorer developing countries. The links below give access to the briefing paper and some FAQs about these agreements.

Oxfam slams bilateral trade deals BBC News Online(20/3/07)
The state of world trade – Oxfam Oxfam website
Signing away the future – Oxfam Briefing Paper Oxfam website
Signing away the future – Q&A Oxfam website


1. Explain the difference between a regional trade agreement and a bilateral trade agreement.
2. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for developing countries of signing (a) bilateral trade agreements and (b) regional trade agreements.
3. Choose a specific recent regional trade agreement and assess the impact it has had on the member countries.

The United Nations has set a target for developed countries to donate 0.7% of their GDP to poor nations. However, the average figure is just 0.33% for the developed world and according to a recent OECD report many nations are set to miss this target if they fail to boost aid spending significantly. Indeed, only a few countries – Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg and the Netherlands – are currently meeting this target.

West set to fail aid targets, OECD says Guardian(22/2/07)


1. Explain what is meant by ‘official development assistance’.
2. Discuss the likely impact on the developing world of a failure to meet the aid targets set by the United Nations.
3. Assess the extent to which developing countries are likely to gain from globalisation.

In developing countries the growth of urbanisation is causing some worrying social, environmental and health problems. As the introduction to the article below puts it:

“UN figures for urbanisation, published this week in the State of the World 2007 report, show that more than 60 million people – roughly the population of the UK – are added to the planet’s cities and suburbs each year, mostly in low-income urban settlements in developing countries. Unplanned urbanisation is taking a huge toll on human health and the quality of the environment, contributing to social, ecological, and economic instability in many countries.”

Streets ahead Guardian (17/1/07)


1. Assess the impact of the growth of urbanisation on the rate of development in developing countries.
2. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of growing urbanisation to a developing country.
3. Assess the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in helping to minimise the negative consequences of urbanisation.

A United Nations report on wealth distribution has found that the world’s richest 1% own 40% of the world’s wealth. Europe, the US and some Asia Pacific countries account for most of the world’s wealthiest with 30% of them living in the US. So is this a problem and should we, or indeed can we, do anything about this. The article below from the Guardian looks at these issues in more detail.

World’s richest 1% own 40% of all wealth, UN report discovers Guardian (6/12/06)


1. Examine whether the fact that the richest 10% in the world own 85% of all world assets is likely to cause problems for developing countries.
2. Suggest two policies that a developed country could use to narrow wealth distribution and evaluate the likely impact of these policies on the level of economic growth.
3. “”In some ways, wealth is more important to people in poorer countries than in richer countries.” Discuss the extent to which this assertion from the article is likely to be true.