| The Courier N°137 January-February 1993 Dossier: Development and Cooperation - Country Reports Mauritania |
In the 1960s when the modern history of 'development' began, the objective set out as well as the means of achieving it looked simple enough: raise the living standards of the less advanced, newly-independent nations using the capital and technology of the industrialised world. Thirty years later the situation in the vast majority of these countries defies that logic. Poverty, ignorance, malnutrition, hunger and disease are rife. Indeed, in most countries the living standards have actually fallen.
Over the years, this lack of progress has provoked numerous theories about development leading to new policies and new strategies which still failed to deliver the goods. Everyone appears to be turning around in a circle.
Is it the concept of development that is wrong or the approach to it? To help answer this question, we have, in this dossier, a wide range of contributions from academics through to development actors and professionals.
The first series of articles attempts, among other things, to define and analyse the concept of development. The questions we ask include: does it mean the same thing to everybody? Would another term like progress, modernisation, transformation, evolution or revolution be more appropriate? Does development depend largely on international trade and aid? Can it be measured? What are the elements that need to be taken into consideration? Who should guide the development process?
A few articles deal with some of the real actors of development, the grass roots operators in what is called the informal sector and the investor from the North whose capital and technology are considered crucial.
The third part of the dossier examines aid and asks whether it is useful or harmful to development.