Regional development — overcoming sectoral development
Goals and approaches of developmental policy have changed
since the 1960s. At first, attempts at technology transfer
and sectoral concepts were most important. Though multisectoral
projects were soon formed which pointed more towards a connection
between economic and social aspects (Salim, Mandi), still
the emphasis remained sectoral for a long period. Industrialization
was the goal, and agriculture was supposed to make its contribution.
In time the effects of successful growth would trickle down.
Distribution issues did not come to the fore until it became
apparent that in the rural sector as in other areas, successes
in sectoral development only led to an increase in poverty
and it was recognized that deficiencies in the system like
those typical of underdevelopment cannot only be overcome
using a sectoral approach.
Regional development tries to eliminate or at least reduce
the difference in incomes between various regions. The integration
of the poor into the production process is focused upon, enabling
them to have access to income-bound goods and public services.
Regional development, as far as this concept is practised,
means the overcoming of sectoral efforts without excluding
them completely. Regional development is a program, i. e.
a group of projects (in different sectors), in one area. This
is based on the knowledge that poverty is caused by deficiencies
in the system and not of individual deficiencies.
It is true that "backward areas" have always played
an important role in regional development, but for a long
time the "growth centres", i.e., induced urbanization,
were the usual method, with agriculture being included, as
it were, thanks to spreading effects. Lack of success caused
a shifting of goals in regional development planning towards
overcoming the contrast between rural and urban areas and
building a new relationship between the two. Progress for
"backward regions" comes from spatial and functional
integration, that is, mobilization of the forces already existing
within the region and functional integration of the individual
Overcoming sectoral development approaches offers more opportunities
for including the poor in the development process. It must
be taken into account that the price for progress is a high
one. It requires more complex programs, more coordination
effort by all those involved and thus higher costs.
And what of the so-called marginal locations, those areas
with the highest poverty rates, where the resource situation
is so poor that there are few sources within the area that
can be mobilized and put into a functional context? Is this
where regional development reaches its own limits, since after
all, you cannot get water out of a stone?