Will Third World Countries Catch up with their First World Counterparts?
There is a huge question that lingers in people’s minds when they move from either side of the divide, first to third or third to first-world countries, and observe the differences in terms of infrastructural, social, and economic development.
To Jose, this was a huge surprise. One question he asked himself once he had arrived in this first-world country he was settling in was whether his first-world home country would ever catch up. For him, it seemed like it was the world against them although it could as well be them against the world.
There are whispers in Jose’s world that the lifespan of a shoe is as much as the tarmacking one does. Then one wonders what relationship exists between tarmac and shoes because in most first-world countries tarmacs are made for driving.
Well, for your information, in third-world countries tarmacs are matters of luxury. People win votes by promising the electorate that they will tarmac roads for them, something which should be understood as an obligation for the leaders and which should be that.
In the two weeks he had stayed in this new world, Jose had not stepped on unpaved ground. It was either he was walking on neatly and professionally constructed footpaths or he was using a bus to travel around.
Looking back to where he had come from, walking on a properly paved path was a privilege for a select few. It was either walking on murram roads or competing with vehicles on the tarmacked roads. No wonder shoes got used to measuring tarmacking; to mean how long or far an individual could have walked within a certain period.
Speaking of tarmacking and an incident comes to mind. Jose had a schoolmate back in the university called Tony who came from a poorer family and had been sponsored by his villagers to come to the university and study so that he could be of help to them after.
In Tony’s village, it takes a whole village to make a professional. After his parents had sold all their livestock to pay for his school fees together with several other social fundraising arrangements called ‘Harambee,’ he was able to finish his university studies.
The next task that topped Tony and Jose’s lists was to look for jobs. And it was on a Tuesday in January 2013 when the two friends started the ‘tarmacking’ loosely translated as the process of looking for jobs as fresh graduates.
However, Tony was used to this as he did menial jobs to pay for his shared rent with Jose and spend the rest of the money on his food. For Jose, this was a whole new experience because his father had been giving him money for the rent and some more money for upkeep throughout his university studies.
In that early morning, Tony insisted that they eat heavily because moving from one office to another in the heavily ‘fortified’ walls of industries was not going to be an easy fete. It was unfortunate that there was no proper public transport serving the extensive industrial area and at some point, they had to walk from industry to industry to seek work.
By the end of that day, the duo had visited more than a dozen industries without luck. Every company they knocked to, they received the same statement that there was no work for them. The distance they had walked could amount to over ten kilometers.
For Tony who was used to tarmacking, this was another routine day. To Jose, it amounted to suicide. The following day, Tony was off to yet another day of searching for work because a whole village looked up to him as their savior.
Jose stayed back to nurse his pains. That was when he decided to talk to his father who despite staying in the village for the majority of his lifetime used his other brother who is well-connected to help him find a job. Despite the low pay, Jose was glad to have a job nevertheless.
Tony continued to tarmac and it took him another five more months before he could get some decent work as a packer in one cosmetics industry despite his exemplary degree certificate in business administration and management. The pay was very poor but Tony well understood that a pauper doesn’t choose what to eat when at a king’s reception.
Fast forward, to a new country, Jose was observing a socially empowered society with better pay and better opportunities than his country. Yes, it had its challenges, but it was not comparable to what he was used to.
Walking in this new environment was a matter of exercise and not a matter of survival as it was back in his home country. So, how long could his country take to reach these new heights? Who knows. This new place was greatly developed, people lived a better life, and children had opportunities meant for only the elites in Jose’s country. The stratification wasn’t felt.
Wondering what stratification looks like in Jose’s country? That is a matter of the gods and servants of the gods.
The length of third world countries catching up with their first world countries would not be an easy fete. They would need to work harder and put their houses in order especially in terms of mindsets and governance to make it to the crème de la crème in the world of who controls who and who stands to speak and men listen.
They have to strengthen their institutions and fight corruption by flesh and blood. The leadership should have the interests of the electorate at heart and the electorate understands that democracy means it is their leadership and that they hold the sovereign power in the most literal terms.