Economic development initiatives are efforts to improve an area's economy and standard of living for its residents. Communities, states and entire nations do this by embracing initiatives to improve infrastructure, education and work skills, health and safety, environmental quality and the area's ability to compete with its neighbors in regard to such issues. While economic development initiatives tend to have similar goals, the methods used to reach those goals should be tailored to a specific area. Plans for implementing economic development initiatives also should consider long-term goals, because such development tends to take time.
Among the various economic development initiatives are those that aim to improve the human resources in a country by concentrating on education and vocational training opportunities. Such initiatives would look at the number of students in primary, secondary and tertiary education and aim to increase the number of students in full-time education, beginning at the primary level. This type of initiative would look at increasing the resources available to educators, such as school buildings, other facilities and text books. Another factor in this policy would be the training of extra teachers to take on the task. A human resources strategy also might involve initiatives for improved sanitation and health to ensure that the population of the country is fit for work.
Alternate economic development initiatives that could be carried on in parallel with a human resources strategy may involve the acquisition or development of technology to make industry and agriculture more efficient. This might be achieved through the purchase of relevant technology from abroad or the encouragement of technology transfer from foreign companies. The country could make conditions such as tax relief or free-trade zones favorable for foreign business and include additional tax relief where technology transfer is a part of the contract. Foreign companies could be encouraged to with local companies to form partnerships that involve some transfer of technology, or the strategy might involve countertrade and offset by which the foreign company fulfills additional contracts for the country.
Another type of development strategy involves developing the relevant political and economic institutions to create a favorable atmosphere for business. Such political institutions may aim to bring social stability and a stronger legal system capable of defending the right to private property and the right of businesses to defend ownership of assets, including intellectual property. Economic institutions such as the central bank could be given the powers necessary to oversee the economy and create a viable banking system. International negotiations could aim to reduce tariff barriers and ensure that foreign companies are protected against expropriation of assets or double taxation.