Living in the third world comes with a set of problems you do not encounter in the developed world. Some are so baked into the psyche of the residents that they are not even thought of as problems again but as regular day to day minor inconveniences to be managed!

A visitor to a third world country will have a system shock right from when the plane lands, when crossing into the country by land – only for the brave -, and all through their stay. For both visitors and residents, we have gone ahead to list the top 7 problems in  third world countries here

Note: This was compiled from my Facebook page via a series of live videos with audience feedback used to update the list.

No. 1 Checkpoints

One thing not lacking in third world countries are checkpoints. There so many of them everywhere you go. Lining the roads are all the security agencies the country can muster, from the police to the army, customs, and some that are unique creations. I counted 12 police checks in a 100km stretch once on a road in Nigeria!

If only these checkpoints had any useful value, then we would be ok with them. The ones I know and have come across serve mainly two purposes;

a. Delay your travel

b. Extort money

custom checkpoint along Lagos Benin Road

Custom Checkpoint

This is common in all the 3rd World places I have been to, from Nigeria all the way to Senegal in West Africa, the roads are littered with checkpoints with various level of menacing gun toting uniform and non-uniform people manning them. The main difference between the English speaking and French speaking countries is the mode of collection payment, or rather the way the payment amount is arrived at.

In the English-speaking countries, there is more bargaining, to and forth and attempt to justify the shakedown. The officials even have the nerve to try and strike up a conversation after shaking you down.
The French-speaking countries are more business like, a fixed amount depending on the type of checkpoint. The money is collected openly and this is the neat part, you can get change!

Both delay equally though, you would expect the French model to be more efficient and faster, but the love of fondling documents, painstaking checks of the most minutiae, recording useless data in failing notebooks adds a whole layer of delay to the process.

The only exception I have seen is Ghana, where checkpoints are few and far between. I did meet a police checkpoint along the Aflao-Tema highway, where the policemen on duty tried collecting money from me in 2015 though.

During the easter weekend this 2017, I was kept for more than four hours at a checkpoint/police station/police cell along the Benin bypass for failing to pay up promptly. The unit commander had the nerve to blame me for not negotiating the payoff and said I was responsible for being delayed and should learn. Inspector Afolabi, I remember what you did.

What crime do you need to commit to be delayed at checkpoints and asked to pay up? If you think this question is rational, you are in the wrong place. Being on the road is a crime! or at least something you have to pay to do.

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