The World Bank has finally acknowledged what it should have done 60 years ago when it was founded; that the term “Third World” was a wrong, and perhaps immoral, in reference to developing countries in the world.
For the first time in history, on Wednesday Robert B. Zoellick - the World Bank Group president, has gone on record to dismiss the term “Third World” publically, stating that the global economic crisis of 2009 and the rise of developing countries in the global economy, was the “death –knell” of the old concept just as 1989 was for the “Second World” of Communism.
“If 1989 saw the end of the “Second World” with Communism’s demise , then 2009 saw the end of what was known as the “Third World.” We are now in a new fast –evolving multipolar world economy,” Zoellick said yesterday in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington ,D.C .
While poverty and fragile states remain, Zoellick observed that developing countries were growing to represent an ever increasing share of the global economy.
“The outdated categorizations of; First and Third Worlds; donor and supplicant; leader and led, no longer fit”.
He also noted that developing countries are also providing an important source of demand from the recovery from the recent global crisis.
“This was not only occurring in China and India, but also in South East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Africa could also one day become a pole of global growth,” he said.
The term “Third World” arose during the Cold War to define countries particularly in the Middle East, South Asia, Central and South America, Africa, and Oceania, that were not aligned with either the Communist Soviet bloc or the Capitalist NATO bloc during the Cold War.