The global economic downturn is hurting all nations. Poor people are affected in particular, and they tend to live predominantly in the rural areas of developing countries. Rural development offers a chance to make societies more resilient in economic terms and more equitable in social terms. Governments that improve the business climate in rural areas are on the right track. India is leading the way, together with China. Given that more than 70 percent of India's one billion people live in rural areas, the Indian government has invested in the modernisation of rural areas as well as in employment and social services. As finance minister in the 1990s, Manmohan Singh, who was recently re-elected Prime Minister, opened up India to the world market and thus kick-started high economic growth that also reached the rural economies.
Dr Sebastian Paust
Chief executive officer InWEnt, Capacity Building International