All countries of the world are aspiring gradually towards development, thereby off shooting the underdevelopment epidemic. These days, people have broad knowledge of the state of the economy, social and political welfare of the various countries of the world than ever, as a result of modern technology in communication which has overcome geographical barriers and expanded man’s horizons.
MEANING OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT
This is said to be the opposite of Development. It is a situation or the gradual growth of something that makes it more advanced, stronger (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary). To be developed means, having many industries and a complicated economic system, hence, underdevelopment is a term often used to refer to economic underdevelopments. Underdeveloped countries are countries that have few industries and a low standard of living. It can also be referred to as a nation that is yet to get to the level or stage of economic development characterized by the growth of industrialization and level of National Income (GNP) sufficiently to enhance the investment necessary for further growth (W.W Rostow)
CHARACTERISTICS OF AN UNDERDEVELOPED OR A DEVELOPING COUNTRY
- Low level of productivity
- Agricultural based
- 3. Increase in population growth
- 4. High rate of unemployment
- 5. Vulnerability, dependence on international relations
- 6. Dependence on primary commodity export
- 7. Low living standard which include;
- Uneven distribution of income
LOW LEVEL OF PRODUCTIVITY
Due to low lack of technological knowledge, the developing countries of the world has found it difficult to improve in the productivity, simply because they are still making use of crude implements which make them to end up producing subsistent quantity which cannot be enough for the family before talking about producing for commercial purposes.
This is one of the features that characterize a developing nation. Their main occupation is agriculture which is always in a subsistence level to sustain the family; such could not yield any income for the economy to enhance development.
INCREASE IN POPULATION GROWTH
Another feature of a developing country is that they have high growth which high population growth which cut down their per capita income annually.
HIGH RATE OF UNEMPLOYMENT
Unemployment is the reduction in the family income. As a result of increase in population rate, the rate of unemployment will also tend to be high since the size of every family tends to increase without a corresponding increase in family’s income (employment opportunities).
VULNERABILITY ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Most developing countries of which Nigeria is not an exception are highly indebted to all these foreign financial institutions and transnational or international relations like IMF, Paris club London.
Another feature of developing country is dependency on primary commodity exports. These commodities of the developing countries consist or form their main export to other countries like (food, raw materials, petroleum) from developing countries accounted for almost 85% of their exports. Only in some few countries abundant supplies of petroleum and other valuable mineral resources, basic food stuffs and raw materials alone accounts for less developed countries (LDCs) exports.
Low living standard: It is another characteristic of a developing a nation, since there is no employment opportunities rise to high rate of dependency, this go a long way affecting the living standard of such nation, such should also be put into account.
Education: As a result of low living standard, it is difficult for such nation to build a befitting educational background for citizens.
Health: the heath condition of a developing nation seems to be very low as a result of lack of medical facilities for them.
Poverty: It is another deadly epidemic that had eaten deeply into the depth of the developing countries which cannot be overemphasized.
Uneven Distribution of Income: The gap between the poor and the rich in developing countries is too much; the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer every day.
Reasons why some countries have remained perpetually underdeveloped
- Capital formation
- Socio-cultural factors
- Political factors
- Ethical factors
- Economic factors
- Ecological factors
- Technological factors
- Lack of social amenities
- Underutilization of human resources
- Underutilization of natural resources
- Leadership style
- Managerial inefficiency
- Lack of welfare services/packages
One of the moist hindrances for development is capital formation. This is as a result of the vicious circle of poverty that has eaten deep into the depth of the country caused by low level of productivity as a result of the use of traditional tools and implements in production which leads to low rate of capital savings as well demand for goods and services. Owing to low level of consumption, it will be difficult to restrict it further to increase the capital stock. Farmers from such countries like Nigeria, Kenya etc., use out model and obsolete farming or capital equipment. They cannot save due to low income that leads that leads to low saving, such they find it difficult to meet up with other developed countries.
SOCIAL-CULTURAL FACTORS: Another factor that also hinders some countries from developing like institutional factors, characterized by rigid stratification of occupations, reinforced by traditional beliefs and values, attitudes involving inferior valuation attached to business roles and their incompatibility with the pattern of living and concept of social dignity upheld by the high status, groups and factionalism which has been defined as the tendency of the society to be divided into caste and class cleavages, ethnic or religious distinction in cultural tradition and social pattern, kingship loyalties and religious identification, all these things have made it difficult for such countries to develop.
Another stumbling block to a nation’s development is political unrest, in a country where there is always cases of political unrest like civil war, such country do find it difficult to maintain peace and tranquility. And as a result of this persistence wars and rioting, it will be hard for the economy of such nation to be organized leading to economic recession in the countries, its resultant on the living standard of the people.
Economic factors as one of the obstacles for country to develop, like the forces of demand and supply which are economic indicators. Economic recession is another economic factor that cannot be left unmentioned. It is a situation whereby prices of available economic goods and services tend to be high as a result of scarcity of such goods and low rate of currency in circulation. This factor add to this problem so immensely as government of such nation inject more money into the economy and also make those goods available at affordable prices.
As one of the obstacles to development such as erosion, earthquake, floods; all these factors has caused a lot of havoc to many nations of the world. Like the earthquake, its occurrence leads to loss of lives, properties and the integration of lands which might not be useful for economic purposes anymore. Money which should have been used for investment and other economic activities that will add to the nation’s GNP which is the main indicator of the wealth of a nation will be diverted to compensate the victims of the incident. Erosion and flood also wash away the soil nutrient thereby causing the land to be bare, resulting to a low yield of farm produce. Its resultant is always on a living standard as a result of low consumption, savings and investments leading to low GNP of the country.
Technology is been defined as the application of scientific knowledge into act to solve man’s problem due to low level of capital formation, the less developed or developing countries finds it difficult to acquire modern technology like mechanized agriculture for greater productivity, computer literates to be able to make their produce known outside the country. This hinders the performance of the nation and may not go far as supposed.
LACK OF SOCIAL AMENITIES
Lack of social amenities like electricity drinkable water, good road, school, hospital and socio-economic goods (railways, seaports, air ports) also retards a nation’s development. When all these are put in place, the populace will find their environment conducive enough to go about their daily activities efficiently and effectively and able to transport their commodities to the nearest marketwhere it will be sold.
UNDERUTILIZATION OF HUMAN RESOURCES
This simply means unemployment or underemployment. It is when human skill, expertise knowledge are laid waste; they are not fixed at the rightful position. The misplacement of people or craftsmanship caused a lot to a nation’s growth.
UNDERUTILIZATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES
This is when resources are not used to their full socio-economic potentials, with the result that local or regional development is slower in most cases than it should be. When the natural resources are not fully utilized, it might not yield the expected income and also might tend to depreciate in output.
The style of governance of a nation goes a long way in determining the country’s rate of development. A country with a good government tends to develop fast than a bad government.
This is a situation whereby the way in which all the sectors of the economy is been handled and managed is appreciated. That they are not accountable to the people. In a nation with such problem, development will be a hard road to trade on. Such there should managerial efficiency.
This is when people manipulate their ways into office which leads to wrong use of power thereby siphon and squander public fund. Such country will always face development problem.
LACK OF WELFARE SERVICES/PACKAGES
In a country where there are no welfare services, for the citizens to help reduce the rate of dependency, such country will suffer from high mortality rate and low life expectancy.
With the above mentioned features of underdeveloped countries and the reason why they remain perpetually underdeveloped; one can easily conclude that if the government of any nation that wants to develop, will be able to tackle the mentioned reasons; beyond reasonable doubt such country will certainly and surely gain their objectives.