What is Development?
In a world that is very rich, many people are very poor. Development is about reaching these people and helping them improve their lives.
Indeed, development is a complex term that takes in many different ideas. But most simply, development, when we are talking about countries, means reaching an acceptable standard of living for all people. It means that people have the basic things they need to live (see What Are the Millennium Development Goals?). It means that all the people have the right to make choices about their lives. It means that they have opportunities to improve their living situations.
Developed countries are not necessarily rich countries, and all rich countries are not necessarily developed. For example, rich countries may not be considered developed if they have a few very rich people and many very poor people, and if many people don't have healthcare and education, clean air and water, roads and electricity.
Development is a cooperative effort of many. The governments of poor countries work to improve their incomes, and, in most cases, to improve the lives of their people. The governments of most rich countries try to help poor countries to do so. Institutions like the World Bank also provide money and projects to improve the lives of poor people. Many other charitable groups around the world work to do the same. And the poor themselves struggle daily to provide for themselves and their families.
These groups and governments established a list of goals that the whole world today is striving to reach-—the Millennium Development Goals.