Thursday, November 03, 2005


Development: a spent word?

Reader, I have a simple proposal for you. Join me in never using the labels of developed and developing countries. Instead, call a rich country “rich”, a poor country “poor”, and a middle income country the same. Here is why.
First, there is no firm link between economic growth and “development”. During the nineties, Botswana’s economy was growing at one of the fastest paces in the world. So was its HIV epidemic.
Second, there is ample evidence that rich countries are not necessarily more civilized than poor countries.
Third, our potential to learn from each other is reduced when some countries consider themselves as “developed”: the term fuels complacency for the rich and is condescending towards poor and middle income countries.
Jean-Louis Lamboray

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