chapter  3
18 Pages

Pacific island rural development: challenges and prospects in Kiribati

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Despite the fact that the Pacific Island region is still predominantly rural, there is limited analysis of rural development problems and prospects, at least outside the grey literature (but see Brookfield 1979; Liew 1990; Overton and Scheyvens 1999; Thistlethwaite and Votaw 1992: 189-98; Ward and Proctor 1980). More generally, as the World Bank has noted: ‘Rural development has been neglected for many reasons, but three stand out as critical: poor commitment and capacities in partner countries, waning international interest in rural issues, and poor commitment and weak performance in the Bank’ (1997: 29). Much emphasis is instead directed at the process of urban growth and associated challenges. This bias is unfortunate, as many problems related to urbanization need to be understood within a context of rural poverty, which has resulted in the steady influx of migrants to district centres and island capitals. For most of the Pacific region, however, urban opportunities are limited and there is good reason to try to make rural areas more attractive for those who choose or are compelled to remain there.