What is International Development?
International development is the belief that different nations have differing levels of progress, be it in terms of economy, health, education, etc. The study of international development is the attempt that developed nations make through the use of tools such as technological advancement, innovation leadership, and such to eradicate poverty and bridge the gap between themselves and developing nations.
Although the concepts of international relations and international trade have been around for several centuries, international development is a relatively new idea. It is measured in several ways, but most commonly by looking at the GDP of a nation.
International development and innovative technology
Whatever the field might be, technology has irrefutably been at the core of its advancement, and international development is no different. Recent years have seen a great deal of success in this field with 1 billion people now lifted above the poverty line since 1990. This has been encouraging, to say the least, and progress has speeded up because of it.
Technology and specifically innovative technology has claimed much of the credit for this triumph. From the increased use of mobile phones to assist in business and banking to oral rehydration therapy in the field of medicine, the digital world has always come to our rescue.
Innovative technology and its impact
Research indicated a 9% increase in the number of people (from developing nations) who frequently used the internet between the years 2013 and 2015. That might seem like a small rise in figures, but in practicality, these people transformed their lives and livelihoods through something which most other nations would take for granted.
But broadband and mobile phones haven’t been the only form of technology that has changed the development landscape in developing nations, listed below are some of the other technologies that have had a substantial impact on international development.
- 3D printers
During rehabilitation efforts for the people of Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, 3DP played a key role in the manufacturing of humanitarian supplies. 3D printers are devices that are capable of printing 3D objects directly from digital prototypes.
This technology had previously been used for art and other purposes but recent years have seen its popularity rise in developing nations because of its convenience and ability to shorten manufacturing processes.
Another instance that this technology was used for international development was when in 2014 when a non-governmental organization called Field Ready, again in Haiti, 3d printers were used to print umbilical clamps to reduce umbilical infections in infants. These clamps could be made in under 8 minutes.
- Internet of things
Internet of things is the incorporation of data communications technologies into physical objects which can then be controlled remotely. These objects can also be used to collect data which can then be used for monitoring purposes.
A real-life example of this is how the water output and failures of water pumps in African villages are monitored to help plan out future investments. Internet of things also has much potential in the field of medicine, especially since the invention of swallowable camera pills which can help doctors look inside the patient’s body.
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Commonly known as drones, these devices have the benefit of being low cost and easy to use. The world has seen a steady rise in the use of drones for various purposes, and now developing nations are realizing the possibility of their use for development.
A delivery company, known as Zipline, which operates in numerous African countries, most prominently Rwanda uses fixed-wing drones to deliver medicine, blood, vaccines and other small medical supplies to difficult areas.
Other instances of the use of drones have been in the form of Rocket mine which allows a survey of areas and then mapping services to miners, farmers, engineers, etc., Redline and FlyingDonkey are also delivery networks that use drones to reach remote and barren areas.
- Atmospheric water condensers
Atmospheric water condensers are meshes that are installed which aim at mimicking the process through which plants and insects convert moisture into savable water. This is not a recent technology and is rather popular in dry regions around the world. The first dated use was all the way back in 1960.
“Fog collectors” set up in Chilean villages around the year 1990, have the capacity of providing up to 331 liters of water per person. Not only is this water safe for consumption, but it has also aided the villagers to take up small agricultural practices.
WarkaWater has taken up a similar initiative in Ethiopia and has set up “water towers” made of Warka Tress and other material collected from surrounding regions, to allow locals to combat the shortage of water that they’ve faced for decades.
International development isn’t a simple process, nor is it anywhere near completion. Through active research and innovation, this process can be speeded up and more and more countries and people can be provided with sustainable lifestyles and good standards of living.
- Technology and the economic development gap
- Introduction to 3D Printing and its applications
- Marketing mobilty products in developing countries