Is Development Outdated? Importance of Development for the Global South

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18th May 2020 International Studies Reference this

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Abstract

Development and aid are perceived as a failure and people are ready to move on to a workable solution. Is development not possible? This paper discusses the need for development as many global south people are still depending on all the help they can get. The various actors of development and their shortcomings that hinder the development can be overcome by making the system transparent and making aid management simplified in order to eliminate aid fragmentation. To make aid effective, the structural flaws must be eliminated from the system, the composition of the system must be changed and the other unforeseen situations like disaster must also be taken into account while planning the approach. As expressed in the slogan, “Think globally, act locally”, the aid actors must work on the grass-root level to achieve success in development.

Keywords:  Development, Global south, Aid fragmentation

Is Development Outdated? Importance of Development for the Global South 

The development has mostly been associated with economic development (Haslam, Schafer, & Beaudet, 2016). Based on the economy, different labels were given for the countries, with which various development frameworks and policies were formed. But, the problems in defining or measuring development are, “the need to distinguish between the levels of industrialization, the need to consider different segments of the population, the need to look specifically at poverty, and the need to consider development as an “ideal” or aspiration for betterment.”(Haslam et al., 2016). Based on the evolution of the society, the development methods and frameworks evolved as shown clearly in the timeline (Figure 1, 2). This paper discusses, whether the development frameworks function as intended and is there a need for development still in this 21st century?

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The Need for Development

Development is required for the global south people at least until they become self-sustainable. As these people are helpless because of poverty, various issues linger with them such as malnutrition, illiteracy, poor sanitation, etc. Noble Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen defines development as freedom (Haslam et al., 2016). When people are independent to look after themselves that is when development is accomplished. Although various frameworks and theories fail to prove that it’s a success, the need for development and aid still persists. This is because development is seen as the economic growth of the country. “While economic growth is clearly important, it does not always reduce poverty. Consider, for example, that 15 years of impressive economic growth in Africa has had only a small effect on poverty rates and a little under half of all Africans still live below a $1.25 a day poverty line.”(Briggs, 2018). There are also problems in the distribution of aid due to aid fragmentation, politics and “the lack of change and improvement despite growing investment.”(Ramalingam, 2013). This clearly leads to the reality of the criticism by Peter Bauer, “…foreign aid is a process by which poor people in rich countries help rich people in poor countries”(Bauer, 1972). So, the need for development persists, but it is not just by increasing the economic growth of the country, but by actually working in areas that require a helping hand.

Who Should Do Development

Often development objectives are hindered by the various conflicts, the mix of fragility and migration and are considered to be a major disrupter to the traditional development paradigm (Ingram & Lord, 2014).  A survey by Ingram and Lord shows that a state of fear and insecurity arises as premature departure of donors happen even before reforms make significant progress to the next stage of development due to tremendous increase of funding resources from the private sector. Whereas others are concerned that rise of NGOs and private development organizations may push the reality of development work behind and lean their focus towards humanitarian work as it has the huge potential source of funding (Ingram & Lord, 2014). If the government is given the responsibility to do development, there are problems of corruption and will not do justice for the job as Sir Josiah Stamp criticized in a funnier note saying, “The government is very keen on amazing statistics. They collect them, add them, raise them to the n-th power, take the cube root and prepare wonderful diagrams. But you must never forget that every one of these figures comes in the first instance from the village watchman, who just puts down what he damn well pleases.”(Ramalingam, 2013). The importance of a well-functioning government being established in truth and transparency was stated by an ex-government official “Corruption can erase years of development progress, reduce trust in government, and undercut accountability.”(Ingram & Lord, 2014). This is the case in NGO’s and other organizations too. The inefficiency and inability of many aid agencies were criticized  as “Aid agencies are increasingly dealing with a world for which their learning, strategic, performance, and organizational frameworks were not designed.”(Ramalingam, 2013). Although there are pitfalls at various levels and among different organizations, a solid move towards development can be made only if both the government and private sectors work together with a common goal and with a well-structured plan. The funding for development could also be through an International organization that has grass-root level workers with transparent performance and accountability for development to be effective.

Development Framework

Development strategy must be developed by local experts as “Expatriate experts lack the depth of understanding of the local culture and how it works. Better solutions will be offered by local actors.”(Ingram & Lord, 2014). Among the various development frameworks such as Millenial Development Goals (MDG), Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), Sustainable Development Goals(SDG), etc., let’s consider the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by the United Nations (UN) for this paper. Ashish Kothari debates that “everyday life is more often about survival now, not progress and so, Sustainable Development Goals SDGs must be called SSGs Sustainable Survival Goals.” (Ashish Kothari, Ariel Salleh, Arturo Escobar, Federico Demaria, 2019). The 2019 Sustainable Development Goals report states that it cannot achieve its target of ending poverty by 2030. This is the beginning of the downfall of another development framework. “The international agencies must devote as much time to how they do things as to what they actually do.”(Ramalingam, 2013). So, SDGs can be made possible by favoring ethical responsibility to engage and effective way of engagement in order to achieve potentially high impact on development (Gill & Bullough, 2017). The Cape Town Statement on Geo-ethics includes a set of goals that help to frame our responsibility in global development frameworks (Di Capua, Peppoloni, & Bobrowsky, 2017). “For example, it encourages sharing knowledge and a spirit of cooperation, and promotes geo-education and outreach to further sustainable development.”(Gill & Bullough, 2017). My ideology for a successful development framework is that the fund for development goes into a single transparent pool from which the grass-root level local workers can receive funds for development after thorough research and a working solution with the timeline is provided. Continuous follow-ups, transparent working structure, and ethical responsibility can lead to development when it’s done at the grass-root level rather than in a top-down approach.

Conclusion

By analyzing the need for development and its various approaches, it’s seen that every framework has its pros and cons. But a redundancy in the failure of developmental approaches leads people to believe that aid doesn’t work. But, to make aid effective, the structural flaws must be eliminated from the system, and the composition of the system must be changed and the other unforeseen situations like disaster must also be taken into account while planning the approach. Development can become a reality when the framework is properly planned, designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated. “Think globally, act locally”, is the key idea by which the aid actors must work to achieve success in development.

References

  • Ashish Kothari, Ariel Salleh, Arturo Escobar, Federico Demaria, A. A. (2019). Pluriverse : A Post-Development Dictionary. Creative Commons Publication. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004
  • Bauer, P. T. (Péter T. (1972). Dissent on Development : studies and debates in development economics. Harvard University Press. Retrieved from https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/10501960?q&versionId=25285749
  • Briggs, R. C. (2018). Poor targeting: A gridded spatial analysis of the degree to which aid reaches the poor in Africa. World Development, 103, 133–148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.10.020
  • Di Capua, G., Peppoloni, S., & Bobrowsky, P. (2017). The Cape Town Statement on Geoethics. Annals of Geophysics, 60. https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-7553
  • Gill, J. C., & Bullough, F. (2017). Geoscience engagement in global development frameworks. Annals of Geophysics, 60(FastTrack7), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-7460
  • Haslam, P. A., Schafer, J., & Beaudet, P. (2016). Introduction to international development : approaches, actors, issues, and practice. Retrieved from https://global.oup.com/academic/product/introduction-to-international-development-9780199018901?cc=us&lang=en&
  • Ingram, G., & Lord, K. M. (2014). Global Development Disrupted. Global Economy and Development program, Brookings. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-41714-6_42635
  • Mcmichael, P. (2017). Development and Social Change : A Global Perspective. Sage Publications, Inc. Retrieved from http://lccn.loc
  • Ramalingam, B. (2013). Aid on the edge of chaos : rethinking international cooperation in a complex world. Retrieved from https://global.oup.com/academic/product/aid-on-the-edge-of-chaos-9780198728245?cc=us&lang=en&

A Timeline of Development (1940-1970) : (Mcmichael, 2017)

 

Figure 1

A Timeline of Development (1970-2015) :(Mcmichael, 2017)

Figure 2

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