Development Programs Should Focus On ‘Creating Prosperity’ Rather Than ‘Alleviating Poverty’

The Guardian: Obsession with ending poverty is where development is going wrong
Efosa Ojomo, research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation

“How can we alleviate extreme poverty? … Because poverty almost always shows itself as a lack of resources in poor communities — food, safe water, sanitation, education, health care — it’s reasonable to theorize that poverty is a resource problem. … The eradication of poverty is not the same as the creation of prosperity. … In fact, creating prosperity is a process problem, not a resource problem. A process is the way people use their resources. … In order to create prosperity, development practitioners and programs such as the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] must focus on fostering processes. This focus on processes leads to developing innovations that people can pull into their lives to help them make progress. … What might happen if the SDGs, and the whole development community stopped treating development as a resource problem and began treating it as the process problem it is. And most importantly, how might the development community be transformed if we simply asked — how can we best create prosperity in poor countries?” (2/8).

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