Levels of development are determined by several factors:
Physical factors – some areas have a hostile or difficult landscape. This can make development more difficult. Examples of this are very hot climates or arid climates (with a lack of water) which make it difficult to grow sufficient food.
Economic factors – some countries have very high levels of debt. This means that they have to pay a lot of money in interest and repayments and there is very little left over for development projects.
Environmental factors – some places experience environmental issues, which can prevent them from developing. Examples might be extreme flooding or desertification.
Social factors – some parts of the world have issues that are caused by people. These include low levels of education, poor water quality or a lack of doctors.
Political factors – some countries are at war or the government may be corrupt.
Therefore money does not reach the people who need it most and spending on areas such as education and infrastructure may be insufficient.
Natural resources – some countries have an abundance of raw materials such as oil or precious minerals. These can be sold and the money invested into developing the country.
The cycle of poverty
The factors influencing development are often linked and countries can find themselves in a cycle of poverty. For example, if a country is in a lot of debt, it cannot afford good schools. If people are poorly educated they are less likely to understand the causes of desertification. Desertification leads to poor crop growth and low incomes. This leads back to the country accumulating debt and the cycle continues.