Need for Sustainable Development: Theoretical and Practical Concerns for Sub-Saharan Africa

Need for Sustainable Development: Theoretical and Practical Concerns for Sub-Saharan Africa

Samwel J. Kabote (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania) and Halima Omari Mangi (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3247-7.ch002
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Since 2015, the efforts to promote sustainable development turned into a new face after the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were embraced by the 193 nation states, in the world, to be implemented up to 2030. Despite this impressing milestone, the concept of SD is not explored sufficiently. This chapter reviews and discusses need for SD in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where poverty is rampant and livelihood security is deprived. The chapter argues that SSA needs SD. This can be achieved through a balance between the environment, society, economy and institutions, concurrently with interventions to eliminate abject poverty and improve livelihood security. Additionally, SSA should address the challenges that impede the efforts to promote SD seriously with considerations that the communities are heterogeneous and inequalities in different forms are lingering. The future research should investigate, among others, appropriate strategies and interventions to balance the environment, society and the economy for SD.
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One of the buzzwords that are featuring highly, today, in the literature of development studies and social sciences in general, is ‘Sustainable Development’ (SD). The term Sustainable Development is difficult to define mainly because it encompasses two vague concepts; ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’. This chapter deals with ‘Sustainable Development’ concept instead of dealing with ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’ concepts separately. A synthesis from literature affirms that the content of SD remains elusive and the discussion about it is increasingly becoming rhetoric rather than a clear guide to action to improve people’s wellbeing. Being vague implies that the SD concept is viewed differently by different authors. For instance, some including Nayar (1994), Giddings et al. (2002) and Perdan (2011) view it as an approach to development. Others, including Sneddon et al. (2006) take it as a guiding institutional principle, or as a concrete policy goal and sometimes as focus of political struggle.

An observation from the Centre for Environmental Education (2007), Giddings et al. (2002) and Robinson (2004) posit that SD focuses either on three dimensions including social, environment and economic dimensions or emphasizes on the dualistic model showing a relationship between humanity and nature. Although some writers consider the three dimensions separately including the corresponding interventions, others focus on interactions between the three dimensions and sometimes adding institutions as another dimension of SD. This implies that, with time, the dimension of SD is expanding.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Challenge: Something difficult to fix.

Measurement Indicators: A sign that can be used to measure Sustainable Development.

Theoretical Ideas: Scientific thinking that may have no practical experience.

Sub-Sahara Africa: The area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara.

Practical Concerns: Something that can be done or are done rather than ideas.

Sustainable Development: Development that continues to the future generations without damaging the environment.

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