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C H A P T E R F O U R The Development Response The Nature of Success This chapter and this book aim to support promising reforms in the field of international development.The focus on inequality and extreme poverty is growing. The profile of and investment for youth in development work are increasing.These advances collectively provide important opportunities for enhancing the relevance, inclusiveness, and effectiveness of youth work specifically and development work more generally. To contribute to these encouraging steps, this chapter will analyze forces that shape and challenge international development aid policies and programs . What follows is a general overview of development policies and practice and a consideration of some important implications of the current approach.The analysis also examines where youth generally,and war-affected African youth specifically, sit in the aid enterprise—whether they are heard or ignored, included or excluded, understood or slighted. In addition, the analysis incorporates commentary from interviews with officials and experts about underlying development realities that are unlikely to surface in official reports.But before moving to these concerns,the bright glow of development success must be examined. Indeed, judging from a surge of reports from Western donor governments and the international development community, there seems to be no point in writing this book.Things are going remarkably well these days, many sources announce. In some ways,important and substantive progress against poverty is being made.Over the past few decades,a United Nations Development Programme (undp) document states, “all groups and regions” in the global South “have seen notable improvement” in all components of undp’s Human Development Index.1 undp adds that “the South has risen at an unprecedented speed and scale”(2013: 1).A report published around the same time as undp’s T H E D E V E L O P M E N T R E S P O N S E 1 2 5 Human Development Report 2013 proclaimed similarly splendid progress in Africa. In 2005 the g8 member nations “agreed [to] an ambitious package of support to accelerate development in Africa.”2 Increasing aid by us$11.0 billion a year to the continent,forgiving a total of us$35.5 billion of debt owed by thirty-five African nations,and boosting investments in health for Africa, the g8 nations proclaimed that remarkable success had been achieved in just eight years (2005–2012).3 In sub-Saharan African nations, hiv infections had descended 37 percent, child mortality decreased 18 percent, the number of Internet users increased by 547 percent, the average annual gdp growth across the region was 5 percent,and twenty-one million more children were enrolled in primary school (One 2013: 5). The big picture that these and other reports announce is that demonstrable progress in sub-Saharan Africa—a region generally known for the opposite—is well underway. Steve Radelet, a former chief economist for usaid, has focused on seventeen “emerging” African nations that constitute “a growing and dynamic group of emerging African countries that are breaking away from the dismal histories of economic decline and political decay commonly associated with Africa”(Radelet 2010: 10).4 He credits this to more democratic and accountable governments,“more sensible”economic policies,declines in national debt,“the spread of new technologies”(namely, mobile phones and the Internet),and “a new generation of public and private leaders”(15).While Radelet argues that development aid to Africa “has played an important secondary role,”he states that “the prototypical negative view that despite large amounts of aid Africa is making no progress is simply out of date and inaccurate”(100).5 However,he also cautions that the promising signs in sub-Saharan Africa are new and “there is a long way to go” (39).6 While the gains are finally beginning to break the stereotype of subSaharan Africa as a hopeless region, three comments on the context of regional progress are required: • First, much of this literature on Africa’s transformation is being produced by entities that benefit from the sheen of achievement. However understandable, a measure of self-interest underlies the public declarations of progress by major donor nations, multilateral donors, and implementing agencies.They are at least partly touting the positive outcomes of their own investments. • Second, the trumpeted measures of success are based almost completely on quantitative statistical data. While running numbers is unquestionably useful, it also flattens and simplifies the landscape of 1 2 6 C H A P T...


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