The sustainable development portal
Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend. The desired result is a state of society where living conditions and resource are use to continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system. Sustainable development can be defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.
While the modern concept of sustainable development is derived mostly from the 1987 Brundtland Report, it is also rooted in earlier ideas about sustainable forest management and twentieth century environmental concerns; as the concept developed, it has shifted to focus more on economic development, social development and environmental protection for future generations. It has been suggested that "the term 'sustainability' should be viewed as humanity's target goal of human-ecosystem equilibrium (homeostasis), while 'sustainable development' refers to the holistic approach and temporal processes that lead us to the end point of sustainability". Modern economies are endeavouring to reconcile ambitious economic development and obligations of preserving natural resources and ecosystems, as the two are usually seen as of conflicting nature. Instead of holding climate change commitments and other sustainability measures as a drug to economic development, turning and leveraging them into market opportunities will do greater good. The economic development brought by such organized principles and practices in an economy is called Managed Sustainable Development (MSD).
The concept of sustainable development has been,and still is,subject to criticism, including the question of what is to be sustained in sustainable development, it has been argued that there is no such thing as a sustainable use of a non-renewable resource, since any positive rate of exploitation will eventually lead to the exhaustion of earth's finite stock; this perspective renders the Industrial Revolution as a whole unsustainable. It has also been argued that the meaning of the concept has opportunistically been stretched from 'conservation management' to 'economic development', and that the Brundtland Report promoted nothing but a business as usual strategy for world development, with an ambiguous and insubstantial concept attached as a public relations slogan (see below).
The economy of Africa
consists of the trade
, and resources of the peoples of Africa
. As of July 2005, approximately 887 million people
were living in 54 different states
. Africa is by far the world's poorest inhabited continent, and it is, on average, poorer than it was 25 years ago. Of the 175 countries reviewed in the United Nations
' Human Development Report
2003, 25 African nations ranked lowest.
Africa's current poverty is rooted, in part, in its history; the transition from colonialism has been shaky and uncertain. Since mid-20th century the Cold War and increased corruption and despotism have contributed to Africa's poor economy. While China and India have grown rapidly and Latin America has experienced moderate growth, lifting millions above subsistence living, Africa has stagnated and even regressed in terms of foreign trade, investment, and per capita income; this poverty has widespread effects, including low life expectancy, violence, and instability, which in turn perpetuate the continent's poverty. Over the decades, attempts to improve the economy of Africa have met with little success.
is a non-profit organization
with a mission to connect people through loans
for the sake of alleviating global poverty
. Leveraging the internet
and a worldwide network of microfinance
institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help fund small businesses run by low-income entrepreneurs around the world.
Loans made on Kiva.org provide 0% interest to lenders. Kiva itself charges no interest from the borrower. Borrowers are charged some interest by the respective microfinance institution handling the individual loan. Kiva.org keeps track of how much interest is charged and will not work with those charging unfair or exorbitant interest rates. Kiva borrowers have a historical repayment rate of 100%. Kiva is working with regulators to allow microfinance institutions to offer variable interest rates to lenders.
Kiva enables microfinance institutions around the world to post profiles of qualified local entrepreneurs online. Lenders consist of any individual with a credit card. Lenders browse and choose an entrepreneur they wish to fund. Kiva aggregates loan capital from individual lenders and transfers it to microfinance partners, called "Field Partners", to disburse and administer; as loan repayments are made by the entrepreneur, the Field Partners remits funds back to Kiva. Once the loan is fully repaid, Kiva lenders can withdraw their principal or re-loan it to another entrepreneur.
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