How does the Gambia's place in the world economy differ from the place of Britain? How does that place affect the Gambia? What would be necessary for the Gambia to move from "Third World" to "First World"?
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The Gambia and the United Kingdom occupy very different places in the world economy. The UK is very much part of the “center,” the “North,” or the “developed world.” By contrast, the Gambia is definitely part of the “perimeter,” the “South,” or the “less-developed world.” One way that we can see this quite clearly is by comparing the two countries’ gross domestic product (on a per capita basis). We can see that the Gambia has a GDP per capital of only about $1900. By contrast, the UK’s GDP per capita is over $36,000. We can also see the difference between the two countries in the makeup of their economy. Most of the Gambia’s economy is based on subsistence agriculture. It exports very little, though it does have a relatively large tourism industry. This is characteristic of a perimeter economy. Meanwhile, the UK’s economy is a diversified economy with a very developed service sector as well as manufacturing.
We can assume that the Gambia would like to move up to the “First World” because this would greatly improve its people’s standard of living. However, it is not easy to do this. If we knew for sure how to move a country up to the First World, we would not have so many countries in the “Third World.” There are many things the Gambia would need to do. It would need to make its agriculture more productive, freeing people up to move into other lines of work. It would have to improve its infrastructure to make the movement of goods easier and to ensure that there would be things like reliable electric supplies. It would need to make its government less corrupt. It would need to get a better educational system so that its people would be qualified for better jobs. All of these things would help to move the Gambia towards the First World. However, it is very difficult to actually make such a big jump in economic circumstances.
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