By: Deonta Wortham
2014 has brought both highs and lows to the field on international development.
Like any other aspect of life, theses occurrences have both highlighted the “great,” and shed light upon areas that we – to say the least – need to work on. But all in all, 2014 has been an eye-opening 12 months that have shown, most importantly, that development work is needed more now than ever before – particularly in regard to burgeoning states across the African continent.
To give a short synopsis of the year’s African related development events;
o Angst regarding Ebola rattled the international community,
o development conferences – including the U.S. - African Leader Summit held this August - throughout the year highlighted the immense passion that so many individuals have regarding the development of emerging states,
o and social entrepreneurs across the persistently impacting African societies on a daily basis.
2014, simply, was an eye-opening year for the development community.
But as this year draws toward its end, it is important that we note the development related strides that have yet to occur.
Withholding the successes of various organizations, and the gracious support given by various donor states there are still various detrimental issues that still plague various developing states.
First, the World Bank has noted that poverty across the developing world is rising at a constant rate. Furthermore, of the 26 poorest countries in the world twenty-four are found in Sub-Saharan Africa. This group of African states have been crippled by unstable societal systems that have failed to establish gateways of opportunities for their respective populations.
As the World Bank notes in “Ending Poverty and Sharing Prosperity,” the wider international community must stand with these fragile states. Assuring that collaborative action - in respect to socio-economic development - will transform societies and impact countless lives.
Secondly, it must be taken into account that 2014 produced an amazing track record in the number of individual donor states that have contributed aid to developing nations. This, my friends, is a good thing. Though aid does not, and cannot, solve all development issues the expertise that accompanies foreign aid in developing nations does assist in the construction of viable institutions that go on to transform societies.
This progress though has been mitigated by the disproportionate amount of foreign aid that donor states have contributed to the least develop countries across the developing world. One has troubling fact that aid in the coming years is expected to decrease in regard to this particular group, yet another issue that must be taken into account in the coming year(s).
Lastly, it wouldn’t be right to address the effect that the Ebola Outbreak has had on the international development community. To date the Center for Disease Control and Protection has reported that 7573 individual have succumb to the deadly virus. Most resided in West Africa, but additional cases were found across the United States and Europe.
Ebola has shown how the lack of stable health and governmental systems can have devastating effects on the larger global community. Additionally, it must be note that the toll that the Ebola outbreak has had on various West African nations will have lasting effects on the development of their respective societies.
It must be noted that the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have only recently emerged from periods of civil unrest. The inaction of the part of the international community in regard to Ebola has detrimentally effected the development stratagems of these states. In short they have developmental trajectories have been reversed, enabling societal tensions that can destabilize the entire West African region. It is up to the international community to ensure that this does not occur.
2014 has had its ups and downs, but most importantly this year has shown the immense work that still lies ahead of the development community. All of the issue that still plague the developing world will not be solved in 2015, we should not naively believe that they will be solved in by the year 2040, but we should not allow that fact to curb our ability to initiate processes of true transformative development.
2015 is only a few days away, let’s ensure that the coming year is filled with positive actions that will change lives across the developing world.