It is a truism that the global economic power balance has shifted to the South or the developing world from the North or the First World, consisting of mainly the Western industrialized powers. In fact, economic growth in the South, over the past 30 or so years, has been phenomenal. The BRICS, for example, or Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, are seen as being in the forefront of global economic advancement or growth. For instance, in 2007, BRICS’ contribution to global economic growth outstripped that of the US for the first time, 30% to 20%. Interestingly, BRICS represent those regions of the world which were referred to as the Third World or the developing countries in the Cold War years. Apparently, the South seems to have turned tables on the North, in economic terms at least.
However, it is important that the economic performance of these countries of the South is referred to as ‘growth’ and not ‘development’. But these terms are not interchangeable; they do not refer to identical realities. Generally, growth refers to the quantum of goods and services produced by a country annually while development denotes economic equity and redistributive justice, along with growth, within a national economy. In fact, ‘development’ currently also implies environmental sustainability.