One of the long-time problems affecting the Nigerian economy is rural settlements. Life in these places leaves much to be desired, to put it mildly. Can this situation be improved? What is needed for this? What role can long-term programs and development plans play here? From this article, you will learn what rural development is and its main directions.
The quality of life of rural citizens in Nigeria reflects the depth of the economic crisis in the country. The disadvantage of the situation is that it promotes a pessimistic mood in the society.
The key areas for assessing the quality of a citizens' life in regional and municipal regions are:
- The level of material security of the citizens.
- The provision of proper living conditions.
- Social security.
- Level of protection of citizens' health.
- Education, professional competence, cultural development.
- The level of personal safety and legal protection.
- Environmental safety.
What does rural development mean?
Sustainable rural development is understood to mean stable social and economic growth, increase in agricultural production, empowering agricultural efficiency, full employment of the rural population, raising the standard of living, and rational use of land.
Ensuring sustainable development of the territory depends heavily on the organization of cash flows sufficient to maintain the life potential and development of these areas. These actions require simultaneous use of all sources of sustainable development: federal and regional financing, including the use of the possible innovative and traditional business based on the internal resources of the territory.
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Along with the official aspect, there are many additional theories of rural development. Modern approaches should be based on the ability of the settlements not only to return to their original level before the negative influences but rather to acquire a new qualitative state. This may be through more efficient use of resources. Primarily this process is associated with a steady and stable improvement in the quality of life of the citizens.
Obviously, the sustainability of the development of rural areas is closely linked with ensuring the proper level of material security: income from all forms of activity (wages, personal income, business, etc.), availability of jobs, and social support. The level of housing and social sphere also depends on this.
The income of the rural population largely determines the state of health care, environmental and personal security. How can people build and equip housing, rest, support their health and working capacity without sufficient funds?
The federal authorities constantly call for utilizing the potential of the citizens towards improving their lives. However, a significant part of Nigerians experiences difficulties in realizing their capabilities, maintaining health, getting an education and so on. The reduction of material inequality in the standard of living of the population increases the rate of economic growth, investment, and fertility.
Planning of social and economic development of rural areas
One of the tools for ensuring sustainable development is the strategic planning of the socio-economic aspects of rural areas. In the world practice, the creation of special programs is carried out mainly for cities. However, improvement of rural areas is no less relevant. A strategic plan can ensure the competitiveness of the territory.
In literature, a strategic plan for the social and economic development of these areas is most often seen as a short presentation paper containing a system of measures and projects aimed at creating conditions for the implementation of priority functions of the chosen object. Undoubtedly, the strategic plan fulfills the function of presenting the region to investors. But the main role of this document is in its organizing function:
- The first thing to think about is the creation of a working system. This forces the specialists and heads of the communities to think daily and make adjustments to goals, tasks, identify weaknesses and strengths, threats and opportunities, form new projects and programs.
- The plan also ensures more effective management of the community by assigning specific strategic directions and activities to the relevant leaders. The fact is that, when a new leader takes power, he/she is not able to concentrate on the current affairs and prospective problems, as well as track their decisions. The strategic plan for social and economic development is the framework that also serves an orientation function.
- Thirdly, the development of any economic strategy rests on two factors: vision and will. The strategic manager should have a vision of the competitive situation at the end of the planned period and the ability to organize and develop projects and programs for promoting the object to planned end results. A vision is important but not enough for a planned upgrade. The will (political, business) is needed to implement the goals. Without this two-pronged strategy (vision and will), the movement toward competitiveness will remain, as experience shows, at the level of wishful thinking.
Development of a plan
To implement the above tasks, it is necessary to use planning technology. This is carried out by creating a program model for the economic and social development of the rural formation. This provides a methodological unity of district-level programs and their coordination with the regional and state development strategy.
The model layout should be based on the following principles:
- First, the planning strategy is based on the realization of the resources of the rural community. Relying on them, programs and projects can be developed to ensure financial resources for the implementation of social goals. Organized cash flows should be sufficient to maintain the life potential and progress of the region or create positive dynamics in this direction.
- Secondly, the observation of the quality of life of the people. The central point of analyzing the state of the economy is the management of the community on the basis of appropriate political and economic decisions, the calculation of the key indicators, identifying their dynamics so as to understand how effectively the work carried out by the administration affects the growth of the well-being of citizens and whether their expectations are justified.
- The identification and formation of competitive advantages of the community and the economic facilities therein, the analysis of strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities to identify strategic directions for ensuring and maintaining development.
- The improvement of the quality and efficiency of the management.
Development of a strategic plan is a labor-intensive task requiring a large amount of analytical work and attracting management, specialists, business, the population of the area, and also the appropriate support. The usefulness of such planning is primarily to increase the competence, quality, and efficiency of managing the socio-economic development of the territory.