Undoubtedly, the concept of development defies precise definition in light of an abundance of theories, and its practice seems to be paradoxical in nature (Kothari and Minogue 2002; Haque 1999; Turner and Hulme 1997). For even with measured accomplishments, there is an incomprehensible increase in poverty and inequality, resulting in declining confidence in the idea of development, as well as the capacity to forecast the outcomes of current development efforts (Sachs 1992, 1999). Historical analyses indicate that at a particular juncture development is interpreted as increased prosperity determined by gross national product per capita, economic growth, industrialization and modernization. More recent interpretation bearing on economic criteria is found in the priorities of the Washington Consensus, among which are enumerated fiscal discipline, interest rate and trade liberalization, privatization and secure property rights. Contemporaneously, realization of human potential, which attaches to health and education, environmental sustainability and social cohesion, is being emphasized. The overarching framework for this perspective is the millennium development goals (MDGs) that expire at the end of 2015; since 2000 these MDGs have committed countries to a global partnership aimed at, inter alia, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; and promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women.
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