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What is the Development Gap and why is it growing?

The development gap emphasises the divide between the affluent and those in poverty. This is usually called the North-South Divide, between the first world countries and the third world countries. This gap stemmed from the African nations debt in the 1970s, which has now either been cancelled or reduced considerably, in order for the nations to put their economics into the country. This was a scheme set up by the IMF which is called SAPs (Structural Adjustment Programmes). 

The reason why it is growing is due to the skewed economic and political ideologies of the west, with the superpower of the USA being dominant in large global organisations, such as the IMF (International Monetary Fund), which was set up in order to bridge the development gap. With the USA being dominant within the IMF and the WTO (World Trade Organisation), few bills are passed in order to help the developing world. 

Furthermore, trade is bias, with farmers in the developing world being paid far less for their goods than those in the development world. A good example of this is the cotton trade, which is subsidised in America but not across the continent of Africa, therefore making it harder for farmers to grow the mad product that America produces. 

Moreover, aid can hinder the development of the country if given inefficiently. For instance, long term aid of food and shelter to a developing or war torn country, can in fact prevent the population from developing their country and providing an income through farming and other practices. Furthermore, this can be the case with economic aid. A country may become reliant on the aid from a developed country in order for themselves to become developed. But this could encounter problems such as the developing country not building up their own economic structure and support system, and relying on other countries. This can be risky, as the developed country has performed soft power on the developing country. In addition, large infrastructural projects can be a form of aid, which has been seen in many African nations by China, even spreading to Brazil which China funding a new rail path to connect the ports, and even in our own country with the new nuclear power plant in the early stages of planning. This soft power increases the development gap as the developed country exercising this power will become more affluent and more powerful. 

The UN set out their Millennium Development Goals which have just been revised into Sustainable Development Goals, which enable the progress to be maintained and kept at a high standard. 

With the continued strength of the superpowers, and the skewed attitude towards the west, the development gap is set to continue to stay, or even rise. Trade, aid and economics are key into bridging the development gap, and if these can be made fair, then there is a step towards bridging the gap. 

Josie C. 13 plus  Geography tutor, A Level Geography tutor, GCSE Geog...

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