Research shows social development is key to economic growth

Academic's evidence will assist the development of a government strategy

The DFID Economic Development Strategy is focused on promoting economic growth

The DFID Economic Development Strategy is focused on promoting economic growth

A programme of social development is a key part of economic development that should precede or accompany any programme of economic growth, according to economists at the Manchester Metropolitan Business School.

Dr Stephen Buzdugan, Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy, has submitted the view as part of his evidence to the International Development Committee’s inquiry on the Department for International Development’s (DFID) Economic Development Strategy.

The strategy, initially published in January 2017, addresses advancing economic development in the world’s poorest countries and forms an essential part of how the UK is helping make globalisation work for all.

Considering economic growth

Dr Buzdugan’s written evidence analyses the balance between the DFID’s economic growth programming and the other areas of its development work.

Underpinned by research conducted by Dr Buzdugan and Professor Heinz Tüselmann for the United Nations, the evidence points to the need for a greater focus on industrial strategy in the DFID’s partner countries to increase the effectiveness of the Economic Development Strategy.

It also calls for more attention to a programme of social development, which can balance a programme of economic growth.

Dr Buzdugan explained: “When considering the balance between DFID’s economic growth programming and other aspects of its overall strategy, we believe the committee should consider the importance of social development objectives to complement a programme on economic growth.

“Our research shows that the delivery of an impartial programme of social development within partner countries tends to promote the objective of ‘stability, governance and sustainability’ that the DFID Economic Development Strategy seeks to achieve.”

Developing the strategy

The DFID’s Economic Development Strategy sets out how the Department proposes to support its partner countries to create a more business-friendly environment and mobilise domestic resources.

The inquiry will inform the development of the strategy with a focus on promoting economic growth, both through DFID’s bilateral programmes and through its contributions to multilateral agencies such as the World Bank.

An ultimate aim of the strategy is to assist poor countries to finance their own development, harness their rapidly growing young populations and overcome the need for aid.

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