Challenges of Development



In the 2013 Human development Report, China had an HDI of 0.699. The accelerated progress in human development is medium. The basic dimensions of human development are long and healthy life, access to knowledge and the standards of living. Chinas life expectancy at birth is 73.3 percent, with 11.7 expected years of schooling, 7.5 mean years of schooling and 7, 945 GNI per capita. The HDI trend shows that with a HDI of 0.699 and above the average of medium human development of 0.683, China is progressing to the high human development group. The 0.699 HDI represents a remarkable 72 percent rise in HDI from 0.407 in 1980. China has an average year increase of 1.7 percent (Wollscheid, 2014). The rise is due to china’s investment in agriculture, creation of high quality education, provision of high quality healthcare, enhancing of equity, establishment of special economic zones and promotion of social cohesion. For high human development, China requires more than improving the HDI components but ensuring equality in income, sustainable consumption, reducing military spending and enhancing social cohesion.


There are four main challenges to china’s development. There is the unbalanced structure of urban and rural populations. There is increasing urban population with approximately 200-250 million people moving into the cities however are still trapped in rural living standards (Morrison, 2013). Secondly china has conflict between low and high- income population. There is a widening gap between the different social classes as well as geographic areas. China also faces serious conflicts between employers and workers. The government tried to solve this conflict through legalizing a labor code that would regulate the registered 40 million entrepreneurs along with other 10 million economic entities. There are similar difficulties between government officials and citizens leading to peoples’ mistrust in governance (Morrison, 2013). Steps have to be taken to overcome problems such as bureaucracies, alienation from people and corruption. To solve the problems, china has deepened its economic structural reform, implemented an innovation-driven development strategy, strategically adjusting its economic structure, integrated urban and rural development as well as promoted improvements to its open economy.


In recent years, China has increased its economic exchanges with neighboring countries. The state has become more concerned of its relations with main powerhouses such as Singapore and Japan, as well as other neighbors such as Mongolia, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. Although competing across different industries, China has given more significance to its allies such as Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and Singapore. Countries such as Singapore and Indonesia have a leading role in china’s economic development and in other ASEAN countries. They have helped china to gain more regional economic influence. However China faces development challenges from bordering states with territorial disputes. There are territorial disputes with Japan and Vietnam (Morrison, 2013). Land seizures as well as environmental degradation from economic activities causes more disputes with neighboring states and hinder economic development. With India, china has difficulties in border relations but still maintain extensive trade relations, while Vietnam is a main trade partner with China.



Gender differences are very influential to education and aspirations as well as a person’s life chances. Gender influences the differences in life chances between boys and girls, which later cause inequalities in socio-economic status. For example, in China, boys have value more than girls and this has affected life chances for girls as they are adversely affected. There are lower expectations of girls than boys and girls who do not have sufficient family support hence cannot reach full potential. Girls also lack social support and are not protected against vulnerabilities such as sexual exploitation. China also has 20 percent lower working age women in urban areas than men. Women get fired disproportionately than men and are also hired at lower rates than men. It shows how gender has affected women’s life chances in global south (PALUDI, 2013).

There is also the concept of “leftover” women that stigmatizes urban, educated women so that they leave their search for higher education for better jobs but instead pressure them to get married. The declining female participation in development is a major problem in the global south. Learning institutions also have gender-based quotas favoring the admissions of men over women. It limits women life chances to better paid jobs. Women are also sexually harassed at workplaces (PALUDI, 2013). The global south economies may continue to develop and more women may continue to drop out from the workforce, but it comes at a cost of deepening and destabilizing gender inequality.


The cooperative conflict concept as referred by Sen is the bargaining that exists between household members over the decisions that affect them. It is used to explain on the gender relations and how they influence well-being. Cooperative conflict is a model of intrahousehold bargaining that was theorizes and assists in understanding the power differentials that exist between men and women in their households. The model by Sen predicts that in a certain relationship, the individual with bargained outcomes that are in close conformity to their preferences than the preference of the other party; has more self-interest (in actuality as well as self-perception); has the greatest household income contribution; and is in a favorable breakdown position, hence will lose less if defeated (MORRIS, 2009).



Risk aversion by peasant farmers means that peasant farmers are not willing to adapt new types of seeds, new planning practices or even new fertilizers that may improve average yields, due to the substantial variations in outcomes resulting from the new practices. For a new farming practice, even with a small long-term variance, usually has high variance because the novelties require experimentation. At start-up, the farmer would be required to change their skills in order to accommodate new practice into the specifics of their local situation. Most farmers are economically precarious hence prefer the tried-and-true farming practices (Binswanger, & Sillers, 1983).


Various factors converge and make food security a global issue. There is increase in global population, change in diets, limited access to water, and increased costs for fertilizer and fuel. Countries such as china and India have changed their consumption patterns and the issue of climate change has also led to extreme weather patterns that hinder food production. Complexity of the current food crisis is also due to poor harvests, flooding and drought due to climate change, the imbalance between agriculture and biofuels, low food stocks, changing consumption patterns, low agricultural investment, increased oil prices as well as poor political leadership (BEHNASSI et al., 2011). There are various promising prospects to avoid food shortages. The Food and Agriculture Organization has started to invest in rural markets along with rural infrastructure by coming up with public programs that enhance long-term economic growth for the poor. It provides short-term food security through vouchers for seeds, and fertilizer, for increase agricultural production. Others are subsidies as safety nets to improve households’ purchasing power. The World Food Programme has come up with “Food for Assets” program to provide new infrastructure, and new skills for increase food production. The International Water Management Institute has also come up with water investments and policies to upgrade the management of rainfall and runoff for more diversify in food production. USAID has also assisted in access to finance and agricultural technology (BEHNASSI et al., 2011).


There are various key difficulties in the formulation of agricultural policies in the global south. Most countries do not have the understanding of current agricultural policy making processes. The main challenges they face in policy formulation include inadequate funding, availability of weak research-extension farmer input supplier linkages, inadequate logistical support, as well as poor management and coordination of staff. Policy makers are faced with conflicting agendas from sectors such as trade, climate and energy. Due to lack of access to information, agricultural policy researchers do not understand the initiative of the private sector in issues such as pricing of fertilizer and output. There is also the imbalance between Tax policies and agricultural policies due to political reasons. The process also suffers from ineffective participation of stakeholders, who play a passive role in policy formulation leading to systemic mistakes in new policies. Conflict between other sectors is also unavoidable (BEHNASSI et al., 2011).

4. Africa


There are various development challenges that face Africa today. The first challenge is the increasing youth population that creates high unemployment levels. 70 percent of Africa’s population is the youth. Unemployment of the youth has led to high youth poverty levels in Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria. The second issue is poverty and inequalities. Poverty rates have significantly declined but, inequities and disparities have led to high income inequality gap. Africans per capita income is smaller than the world average and has remained stagnant. Disparities in basic services like health, education as well as social participation prevent Africans from realizing their potential, and hinder social and economic development (KREMER, & LIESHOUT, 2009).

Africa is finding it hard to do business due to unstable policy regimes, lack of public sector reforms, and weak fiscal as well as operational independent judiciary. Small and medium enterprises do not gain from fiscal, and policy incentives in the public sector. Another issue is the conflicts that tear countries apart. The international community has been intervening in conflicts in Mali, Congo and Guinea Bissau. African countries do not often agree on governance reforms, limiting investments and weakening domestic economies (KREMER, & LIESHOUT, 2009).

Africa is addressing its problems though first investing in education. African countries are starting to provide must free and compulsory elementary education. Good governance is also reducing conflicts among nations and regions. Effective leadership through welfare and social structures improve people’s access to basic services. African is also investing heavily in agriculture and industries for job creation. Through enlightening people on family planning, Africa continues to address poverty. Through regional and international partnerships, Africa encourages foreign investment and trade for economic development. Africa is moving away from agreements with Western countries that do not have mutual benefits and starting to partner with emerging markets such as China through bilateral agreements that allow exchange of technology and energy for agricultural products. There is more trade with China and the Gulf States that include exchange of natural resources for credits and more imports from the continent. With key reforms in foreign investment policies, Africa is protecting its domestic markets, as well as attracting investments in key sectors such as the energy industry for increased economic production (KREMER, & LIESHOUT, 2009).

5. AID


Aid and development in the global south is influenced by the history of a country and its colony. Global south countries have different histories and political systems that were inherited from their colonies. Aid and development is influenced by colonially-drawn boundaries that are responsible for creating the problem initially. For example, Global south countries that were not aligned to a first or a second world country in the Cold War were offered aid to become allies of either the United States or the Soviet Union. These Third World countries adopted either capitalism or communism economies and received aid from the side they supported. Since then, Global south countries have become recipients of aid from the West for economic development. Africa, Asia and Latin America have become targets for aid from Western governments and have used it for industrialization and economic growth. But overdependence on aid by the Third World economies has led to underdevelopment. Some countries have failed due to the traditional conventional approaches from the West leading to more disparity between the rich and poor (BAKER, 2014).


Since 2000, ‘doing good’ for development changed with the introduction of partnerships with multilateral organizations, donors as well as partner countries. There was the development of the partnership approach to development assistance that includes the sector approach as well as poverty reduction strategies. It introduced of Aid effectiveness approach where donors have to enter into agreements to ensure better harmonization, alignment, as well as results. Earlier, assistance was through projects and evaluation. The donor was the only one to evaluate for efficiency and effectiveness of the projects. However since 2000, there have been structural adjustment policies that require development evaluation beyond the project level. Evaluation is more complex and involves all policy-based approaches. All participating stakeholders are evaluated for accountability (Collier, & Dollar, 2001).

Aid effectiveness has since assisted donors and aid agencies to be more effective and have a positive impact. Through the new partnership approach, donors and recipient countries harmonized their activities to meet the Millennium Development Goals of poverty reduction. The principle of partnership required mobilization of national governments, the development agencies, and civil society to a single national strategy through a well-coordinated approach. There were emerging aid providers that still received aid from western countries. They included China, India, Korea, Turkey, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil, among others. Multinational corporations, international NGOs, the civil society and philanthropists also became major donors (Collier, & Dollar, 2001).


The MDGs have had a profound difference in many people’s lives. There has a been a reduction in Global poverty by almost a half and over 90 percent children in developing regions can access primary education. Disparities between the enrolment of boys and girls have narrowed. There are also gains in the fight against diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. Child deaths before age five have also decline by half in the past decade (Wilkinson, & Hulme, 2012).

Countries such as Brazil have achieved their targets while Benin has lost track to realize its goals. Other successes include reduction in poverty population in china from 452 million people to 278 million. The goal to half the amount of people surviving on less than $1 daily was realized in 2008 due to reduction in poverty in China, India and East Asia (Wilkinson, & Hulme, 2012). More has to be done to meet targets on sanitation, education and child mortality.

The post-2015 development agenda has the prospects of dealing with various issues that include ending poverty and hunger, improvement of health and education, improving the sustainability of cities, combating climate change, and protection of oceans and forests. There are 5 main dimensions. The first is to leave no one behind by not only reducing poverty but ending poverty. The second puts sustainable development at the core through improving climate change and eradicating environmental degradation. Third prospect is transforming economies for jobs as well as inclusive growth through harnessing innovation, business potential and technology to diversify economies. Fourth is enhancing peace, openness and accountability in institutions through emphasis on good governance. The last is forging a new partnership for solidarity, mutual accountability and cooperation of civil society organizations, local and national governments, the scientific and academic community, multilateral institutions, and businesses. It is an ambitious and long-term agenda that is will change people’s lives and provide protection of the planet for many future generations (Wilkinson, & Hulme, 2012).


BAKER, A. (2014). Shaping the developing world: the West, the South, and the natural world.

BEHNASSI, M., DRAGGAN, S., & SANNI YAYA, H. (2011). Global food insecurity rethinking agricultural and rural development paradigm and policy. Dordrecht, Springer.

Binswanger, H. P., & Sillers, D. A. (1983). Risk aversion and credit constraints in farmers’ decisionmaking: A reinterpretation. The Journal of Development Studies, 20(1), 5-21.

Collier, P., & Dollar, D. (2001). Can the world cut poverty in half? How policy reform and effective aid can meet international development goals. World development, 29(11), 1787-1802.

KREMER, M., & LIESHOUT, P. V. (2009). Doing good or doing better: development policies in a globalizing world. Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press.

MORRIS, C. W. (2009). Amartya Sen. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Morrison, W. M. (2013, March). China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service.

PALUDI, M. A. (2013). Women and management: global issues and promising solutions. Santa Barbara, Calif, Praeger.

Wilkinson, R., & Hulme, D. (Eds.). (2012). The Millennium Development Goals and beyond: global development after 2015 (Vol. 65). Routledge.

Wollscheid, C. (2014). China: Economic Review and Outlook 2013-2020.


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