The majority of people worldwide rely on a small number of US-based search companies. Yahoo and the Open Directory each have international branches of their directories, and Google has versions of its search engine for many different countries.
If you can get listed on a smaller regional or local website directory, it will help your search engine placement on all of the major search engines by increasing your "popularity" (the number and quality of links to your site).
Some local directories provide direct links to websites listed, while others use scripts to track clicks on the sites listed. If the directory is using a script, your listing in that directory will have little impact on your ranking in search engines that factor in popularity. Still, that link may drive a few visitors.
So, how do you tell whether the link will contribute to your overall "popularity" in search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing? One method is to put your mouse over the link and read what is shown in your browser status bar (usually at the bottom left-hand corner of your browser). If the text displayed there is your url, then most likely the link is a direct link to your site and will help you grow your popularity.
If you see a long string of code down there, then it is likely that the directory is not actually linking directly to your site. Rather it is linking to a script that tracks clicks and then refers or redirects to your site.