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Guide to Development Speak



The migration of people into a country.


The extent to which a program or project has made a long-term change.


The individual steps taken when attempting to reach a specific goal. The implementation phase occurs after goals have been set and a strategy has been agreed upon.


To bring in and/or buy goods and services from another country.

Import substitution

A deliberate effort to replace major consumer imports by promoting the emergence and expansion of domestic industries. These may include textiles, shoes and household appliances. It requires the imposition of protective tariffs and quotas to get the new industry started.

Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW)

A method for estimating the economic and social progress of nations which has been created as an alternative to GNP. It looks at a range of issues ignored by GNP such as income inequality, environmental damage and depletion of environmental assets.


Indicators are the specific numerical measures of the quality of life in a country. They are used to illustrate progress of a country in meeting a range of economic, social, and environmental goals.

Industrial waste

Material that is left over from a manufacturing process. It may be harmful and cause pollution of if not treated and/or disposed of properly.


The process of building up a country’s capacity to process raw materials and to manufacture goods for consumption or further production.

Infant mortality

The number of deaths among children aged 0 – 12 months per 1000 live births in a given year.


Inflation is a persistent increase in the prices people pay for goods and services, or a continued fall in the value of money. This is due either to more people wanting products than are available or a rise in the cost of production.

Informal economy

The exchange of goods and services not accurately recorded in government figures and accounting. The informal economy, which is generally untaxed, commonly includes goods and services including day care, tutoring, or black market exchanges.

Informal sector

Those businesses or workers operating at a low level of organisation and on a small scale. Casual employment is most often used, and often based on personal and social relations rather than contracts.

Informal sector Enterprises typically possess the characteristics of "household enterprises". The sector provides a major source of urban employment and economic activity in developing countries.

Information Communication Technology

Technology used to handle information and aid communication, including mobile phones and the internet.

Intellectual property

Products of the mind, such as inventions, works of art, music, writing, film, etc.

Intellectual property rights

The right to control and derive the benefits from something one has invented, discovered, or created.


In international affairs, this means the situation in which one nation’s welfare depends to varying degrees on the decisions and policies of another nation and vice versa. In nature it is the concept that everything is connected to everything else, and cannot survive without the help of other plants, animals and factors such as sun, soil, water and air.

International Development Organisation

Organisations established by two or more countries to work together on problems that affect the world. They are set up in a manner that extends beyond the borders of one country and the work they do reaches people in many countries.

International poverty line

An arbitrary international real income measure, usually expressed in constant dollars used as a basis for estimating the proportion of the world’s population that exist at bare levels of subsistence i.e. those whose incomes fall below this line.
*See poverty line

Invisible hand

A term which has its origins in Adam Smith’s famous book Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. Smith’s theory was that were everyone to pursue only their own interest society would automatically be better off.

Invisible trade

Trade which does not involve the direct sale of material goods but includes services such as transport, tourism, banking and insurance as well as income from interest and dividends.
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