Is Egypt a Third World Country?

photo of beige temple

It’s easy to get confused about what cadre Egypt falls under, especially with the series of economic activities that have gone on there. Notwithstanding this fact, Egypt is a third-world country.

The categorization of Egypt as a third-world country raises a series of questions as to why this is the reality. In this article, I hope to explain why this thriving, diversified economy is still tagged “developing”.

If it sounds like what you’ve been looking for, stay plugged to read the article till the end.

What Makes a Country Third-World?

If you go through our previous articles on whether or not a country is third-world, you’ll notice some recurring features amongst third-world countries. I’ll mention them here again.

1.   Third World Countries are not Aligned With Blocs

This feature is the original definition of a third-world country. However, now, these countries are categorized by virtue of their economic conditions. It’s good to let the original definition guide your judgment.

The third world countries were identified by their non-alignment with NATO or the Warsaw pact during the Cold War. At the time, countries aligned with NATO were called first-world countries.

Those countries aligned with Warsaw were called the second world. Non-aligned countries then fell into the third world category. Though these realities no longer exist, categorization is still important in teaching history.

2.   They’re Mostly Developing Countries

All first and second-world countries are developed countries. Developed countries barely have limitations as to health care, low gross domestic product, or high mortality rates.

Nonetheless, most third-world countries are identified as developing countries. And this shouldn’t be a disease. It’s only a label that reflects a country’s economic performance.

3.   Human Development Index is Low

Human development is at the heart of economic development. A country low in human development is said to lack knowledge, a decent standard of living, and healthy life for its citizens. The United States published these 3 elements as the core needs of human life.

4.   Gross National Income is Low

In 2016, the World Bank classified world economies according to their Gross Domestic Income (GNI). Countries with low GNI were defined as those with $1,025 per capita or less.

Middle-income economies were those with GNI between $1,026 and $4,036. High-income countries were those with GNI from $12,476 and above. At the time, high GNI countries like the United States had a GNI of about $12,700 per capita.

5.   Traces of Economic Dependence

Most third-world countries heavily rely on developed nations to boost their economy. Though it helps, it often leads to their being controlled by these powerful nations. This dependence has been a major tool for exploiting a country’s natural resources.

6.   Lack of Social, Economic, and Political Rights

Lack of civil liberties may hint that a country is third-world. Just to be clear, most third-world countries like Egypt are fast evolving and breaking limits. Nonetheless, the absence of these rights is primary evidence that a country is developing.

Things to Note About Egypt

The Categorization Does not Devalue Egypt’s Relevance

As stated in our previous articles, categorizing countries into first, second, and third-world countries was only a historical practice. It was used to identify countries that were either aligned or not aligned with communist blocs.

Again, it’ll interest you to know that the World Bank has done away with the categorization of countries into developed, developing, and underdeveloped countries.

What exists now is a categorization into high-income economies, upper-middle-income economies, and lower-middle economies based on their gross national income.

To this end, Egypt can gladly wear the “third-world” badge, knowing that the categorization does not in any way seek to derogate its hard work over all these years.

Egypt is a Developing Country Because of the Antecedent Economic Issues Still Existing

There are key characteristics that make developing countries what they are. It’ll be hard to miss any of these features when analyzing developing countries —

  • Government corruption
  • Poor quality of education
  • Social inequalities
  • Injustice, violence, and widespread political upheaval
  • Malnutrition
  • Unstable healthcare system
  • Poor structures and infrastructure

Poverty is still a thing in Egypt. It’s shocking for a country that has experienced that level of exposure to development. Well, not much has been done about the conditions of its citizens.

Egypt has a Thriving Economy

Even though Egypt still has some hiccups that label it as “developing,” it has still gained worldwide traction in securing its place as the second-strongest nation in Africa. It’s also the 35th strongest nation in the world.

Egypt is thriving in its manufacturing industry — particularly textile and agriculture. It also produces large quantities of petroleum and natural gasses.

When in Egypt, you’ll realize that its textile industry does not only serve as a major employer but also serves as a great source of export for Egypt.


Egypt has a fair share of both worlds — a rich economy, yet its citizens still experience some level of poverty. While its riches can be traced to its thriving export industry, inequality and corruption are the main causes of poverty in Egypt. If anything, there’s a lot to learn about Egypt and how it’s committed to improving its economy to make the country more livable.

Frequently Asked Questions About Egypt

What is a fifth-world country?

As the name implies, a fifth-world country is one of the least developed countries. They suffer extreme conditions of poverty, political instability, corruption, and kleptocracy. Most times, they’re also ravaged by deadly illnesses like AIDS.

What are the fun facts to note about Egypt?

According to US News, here are some facts to note about Egypt

  • 99% of Egypt’s population is Egyptians. This makes it an ethnically uniform country.
  • Egypt is a graceful home to the seven UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • There are strictly social media policies in Egypt. In fact, social media accounts with a following of above 5,000 people are subjected to their media for monitoring and licensing.
  • The 365-day Calendar that the whole world uses today was invented in Egypt.

What is the population of Egypt?

The 2022 World Population Review Live statistics show a population of 111,077,523 people. The population is growing at a percentage of 1.75%, and this growth rate ranks 64th in the world.

Are Egyptians Friendly?

Very much! When in Egypt, Egyptians will always go out of their way to ensure that tourists have a good time. They have a patriotic spirit that makes them very passionate about their country and culture. If you want to visit Egypt, the likelihood of rude neighbors shouldn’t occur to you one bit!

Can you kiss publicly in Egypt?

I won’t say Egypt is the ideal lover’s zone, and that’s because they’re very conservative people. You may not find a lot of couples (or any couple at all) publicly displaying their love. If you’re considering having a honeymoon, maybe you can try out other love zones. As for Egypt, even holding hands and large bear hugs are a No-No.