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A New Rural Development Paradigm for the 21st Century

A Toolkit for Developing Countries

image of A New Rural Development Paradigm for the 21st Century

Three billion people live in rural areas in developing countries. Conditions for them are worse than for their urban counterparts when measured by almost any development indicator, from extreme poverty, to child mortality and access to electricity and sanitation. And the gulf is widening, contributing to large-scale migration to urban areas. This situation exists despite half a century of rural development theories and approaches, and despite the global momentum built around the Millennium Development Goals between 2000 and 2015. Without greater progress on rural development, it is unlikely that the new Sustainable Development Goals will be met. This book calls for a new paradigm for rural development that is equipped to meet the challenges and harness the opportunities of the 21st century – including climate change, demographic shifts, international competition and fast-moving technological change.

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Foreword and Acknowledgements

OECD Development Centre

Three billion people in developing countries live in rural areas, and they include the majority of the world’s poor. They are constrained by a lack of productive employment opportunities, poor education and infrastructure, and limited access to markets and services. Although building on the experience of early developers is key, rural regions in less developed parts of the world today face new challenges and opportunities that developed countries did not face before. Challenges include a more demanding competitive international environment, rapidly growing rural populations, increased pressure on limited environmental resources and climate change. Opportunities include advances in information and communications, agricultural, energy, and health technologies that can help address some of these challenges.

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