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The opportunity for a strategic approach to national development There has been unprecedented progress in development over the past 30 years. Life expectancy in developing countries has risen by more than 20 years, infant mortality rates have been halved and primary school enrolment rates have doubled. Food production and consumption have increased around 20 per cent faster than population growth. Improvements in income levels, health and educational attainment have sometimes closed the gap with industrialized countries. Advances have been made in the spread of democratic, participatory governance, and there have been forward leaps in technology and communications. New means of communication support opportunities for mutual learning about national development processes and for joint action over global challenges.