Md. Joynal Abdin
The Independent on April 23, 2019
The term ‘Development’ could be one of the most pronounced word of English language. What does it means? It has multiple meaning based on the platform, occasion, person use it. It is one of the complexes, contested, ambiguous, and elusive words in Development literatures. This term has multiple meaning based on the user use it, for example development meaning to a politician is completely different than a doctor use it. Development meaning to an economist could be totally different than that of a scientist. But one thing is common that, development means some positive changes in the subject matter talked about. From a development researcher’s perspective it could be stated that, Development is a process that creates growth, progress, positive change or the addition of physical, economic, environmental, social and demographic components. The purpose of development is a rise in the level and quality of life of the population, and the creation or expansion of local regional income and employment opportunities, without damaging the resources of the environment.
International communities, multilateral forums and global development partners began to focus on development beginning in the second half of the twentieth century. An understanding developed that economic growth did not necessarily lead to a rise in the level and quality of life for populations all over the world; there was a need to place an emphasis on specific policies that would channel resources and enable social and economic mobility for various layers of the population. For example the World Bank started publishing World Development Report (WDR) in the year of 1978. WDR usually focuses on one aspect of development in each year. Focus of WDR 1978 was ‘Prospects for Growth and Alleviation of Poverty’. Focuses of the following WDR were Structural Change and Development Policy (1979), Poverty and Human Development (1980), National and International Adjustment (1981), Agriculture and Economic Development (1982), Management in Development (1983), Population Change and Development (1984), International Capital and Economic Development (1985), Trade and Pricing Policies in World Agriculture (1986), Industrialization and Foreign Trade (1987), Public Finance in Development (1988), Financial Systems and Development (1989), Poverty (1990), The Challenge of Development (1991), Development and the Environment (1992), Investing in Health (1993), Infrastructure for Development (1994), Workers in an Integrating World (1995), From Plan to Market (1996), The State in a Changing World (1997), Knowledge for Development (1998–1999) and Entering the 21st Century (1999-2000).
Similarly focus of the WRD 2000-2001 was Attacking Poverty. It includes the dimensions of poverty, and how to create a better world free of poverty. The analysis explores the nature and evolution of poverty, and its causes to present a framework for action. WRD in 2002 focused on Building Institutions for Markets; in 2003, Sustainable Development in a Dynamic World; in 2004, Making Services Work for Poor People; in 2005, A Better Investment Climate for Everyone; in 2006, Equity and Development; in 2007, Development and the Next Generation; in 2008, Agriculture for Development; in 2009, Reshaping Economic Geography; and in 2010, Development and Climate Change.
Development theorists and practitioners adopted special attention to the impact of each intervention on the climate in last decade. As a result sustainability of the planet became an essential part and parcel of every development interventions. Responsiveness to climate change for sustainability of the humanity became in attention in the last decade while the world faced many conflicts around the world imposed by the big brothers. Conflicting international environment led to wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. These conflicts increased security concerns around the world. It became a threat to humanity and made many people homeless and refugees. While war affected world turned into a pro development climate then violence against women and children came into the scene. Therefore, long fighting gender equality came into the spotlight in case of development.
Providing job to all became another powerful weapon against poverty, conflict and means to ensure social wellbeing of all communities. While providing jobs has become an impossible to meet challenge for the government then engaging private sector as well as encouraging entrepreneurship became a solution to it. Development theorists started encouraging youth to take risks and exploring opportunities of entrepreneurship development. Entrepreneurship is not only a means of employment generation but also a fruitful initiative for promoting economic growth, export earnings, value addition and finally sustainable tools against poverty reduction.
Later on digitization of enterprises and use of information and communication technology offered an additional range of dividends in the field of economic development. Internet revolution transformed the society and offered transparency, quicker delivery of resources, easy, quick and effective means of communication offered general wellbeing of the society. But traditional governance and relevant policies remain as an obstacle to universal benefits of digitization for the mass people. Analog bureaucracy, government processes, backdated mentality of bureaucrats remain a threat to digital economy around the world. Making internet universal, affordable, open, and safe for everybody is the demand of today’s world.
With all other imperatives good governance and people friendly policies are still major concerns for inclusive development of the society. Improving governance to meet today’s development challenges is the demand of today’s world. Commitment, coordination and cooperation from the political leadership and bureaucracy is a must for inclusive development of any society. To make politicians and bureaucrats people-friendly learning technical and professional knowledge is essential for the mass people. Lifelong learning, informal learning and industrial attachments etc. could be alternative sources of professional knowledge for the general workers. While people will be really knowledgeable and professional then greedy political leadership will be unable to use them to attain their ill motives. Thus real sustainability of the social peace and prosperity may come up. If everyone becomes aware about their respective rights and duties then corrupt bureaucrats will be unable to avoid their duties forever. Bureaucracy will be accountable when mass people will play their role to make them accountable.
All of the previous nature of development will be changing soon with the evolution of 4th industrial revolution. Nature, process and dynamics of work will be completely changed. Therefore, many professions will be obsolete and many newer professions will emerge. As a result changing form, nature, role and dynamics of work have to be identified and make everyone familiar, educated and skilled to cope with this rapid change. Otherwise, current development will not be sustained in near future.
No society will remain sustainable alone, everyone has to be part of a regional / Global Value Chain. Everybody will play respective role to develop a product or service according to respective competitive advantages. Finally, international trade could be used as an effective tool for inclusive and sustainable development. Trade, investment and professionalism have to be addressed in the policies of the government. Government can play the role of mentor, guide, promoter, and catalyst but real players will be each and every citizen of the country termed as private sector. Thus private sector led development could be promoted by the government to ensure its inclusiveness and sustainability.