Chapter 2What is Development?

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Ewout Frankema


This chapter discusses various definitions of the term ‘development’. It explains how ‘human development’ is conceptualized in the development literature and how it differs from economic, political or cultural developments. The chapter pays particular attention to Sen’s view of development as freedom. The chapter then proceeds to discusses the role of institutions in development and explores the link between human development and the so-called ‘poverty trap’. The second part of the chapter focuses on the relationship between economic growth and economic development and situates long-term economic development of Africa in a global comparative perspective. The ultimate goal is to introduce students into the various meanings given to the term ‘development’, in order to establish some common conceptual ground for later chapters in the textbook.

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