New book a “manual for development” in a globalised world

Published 19 July 2012

A new book about development by University of New England political sociologist, Habib Zafarullah, promises to earn a cherished place on academic bookshelves, as well as at the elbows of NGO workers, community activists, and the leaders of grassroots movements in developing countries.

Managing Development in a Globalized World: Concepts, Processes, Institutions takes a broad look at stories of development success and failure in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. According to its publisher, it “underscores development as a continuous process that must be supported by sound policies and efficient management, supplying a wider understanding of the field.”

An important theme running throughout the book is that development must be an inclusive process and “always have people at its centre”, Dr Zafarullah said.

“The state is not the sole proprietor of the country’s development,” Dr Zafarullah said. “The people must be involved at a decision-making level in bringing about their own development. That way they will have true ownership of the development process.”

As an example of grass-roots development in action, Dr Zafarullah pointed to the Nobel prize-winning Grameen Bank founded by Prof Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh in 1976.

“What the Grameen Bank did was to create a source of credit for villagers and the benefit of the poor. Small social loans are given to use for productive purposes. These loans are given not to individuals, but to groups of people – and, importantly, without requiring any collateral. What is also significant is that most the borrowers are women.

“Remarkably, repayment rates for these loans are around 98% – far better than any government bank. People used these loans to buy livestock and start businesses, and many of them have gotten out of poverty as a result.

“It is these kinds of home-grown, grass-roots initiatives that this book argues provide the paradigms for sustainable development.”

Dr Zafarullah said the book is already being used as a textbook at UNE and at McMaster University in Canada, where Dr Zafarullah’s co-author, Prof Ahmed Shafiqul Huque, teaches in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

He said that the book was already selling well, according to its publisher.

“I have been told by a number of academics that this book provides an excellent link between teaching and practice, which was very much our aim when we were writing it,” Dr Zafarullah said. “Our hope is that it can go beyond merely being a textbook to becoming a genuinely useful manual for people everywhere working in the field of development.”

Media contact: Dr Habib Zafarullah on (02) 6773 2250 or Leon Braun (UNE PR) on (02) 6773 3771.