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ODI highlights progress in development across the world

ODI launches seven new case studies showcasing concrete progress in Africa and Asia

Britain’s leading think tank on international development, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is launching new case studies of outstanding progress in development from seven countries in Africa and Asia.

The case studies from Cambodia, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Laos, Mauritius, and Namibia, form part of the research project ‘Development Progress Stories’. The project seeks to describe and understand examples of development progress to inform the global debate on international engagement and development financing.

The case studies look at:

  • Sustained progress in economic conditions in Mauritius: the island has successfully translated economic growth into concrete reduction in inequality and poverty, and improvements in human development. 
  • Progress in providing employment for the poor in India: the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is the largest rights-based employment guarantee programme in the world, reaching over 40 million households. Through MGNREGA the government has successfully integrated a rights-based poverty reduction programme into the Indian Constitution.
  • Progress in healthcare in Eritrea: Despite profound poverty, it is one of the few countries expected to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the health sector. Dramatic reductions in infant and child mortality rates, and the halving of HIV prevalence in a very short period.
  • The rebuilding of basic education in Cambodia: substantial progress in re-establishing an inclusive primary and secondary education system after years of instability and civil war, with almost all children now entering school. 
  • Indonesia’s progress on governance: transformation from a militarised state into a story of ‘big-bang decentralisation’ devolving decision-making authority to local levels.
  • Progress in sanitation in Laos: Rapid increase in access to improved sanitation in rural areas, from an extremely low base (an estimated 10% in 1995 to 38% in 2008). Lao PDR’s progress is striking when compared to other least-developed countries (LDCs) with similar low coverage baselines.
  • Sustainable natural resource management in Namibia: putting wildlife conservation in local hands and showing the potential to generate real wealth and gains for disadvantaged groups.

Alison Evans, Director of the Overseas Development Institute said:

“This set of case studies provides further evidence that sustained progress is possible, and sometimes in unexpected places. This should be good news for policy makers as they consider ways to improve the results focus of development assistance”.

The launch coincides with the gathering of EU members, academics, NGO representatives and business leaders in Brussels for the European Development Days 2010 on 6-7 December, which will showcase the EU's continuing and enduring commitment to international development.

The stories are all available to download from www.developmentprogress.org. In the coming months, ODI will complete the online publication of a planned library of twenty-four case studies, each highlighting progress from a different country, and will produce a Development Progress Stories synthesis report early in 2011.

This research is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.