7 Essential International Development Terms to Know in 2024: Part Two

There's so much international development jargon out there that we're back for a second round. Here's a cheat sheet with seven more terms you should know in 2024.

Rosa Vaquedano, a banana producer in Nicaragua. Part of a blog post on international development terms to know.

Read part one of the series: 7 International Development Terms to Know

1. Agroforestry

Agroforestry refers to a system of farming in which farmers cultivate trees alongside crops and pasture. The idea is that by planting and nurturing trees, farmers can play a part in combating climate change. At the same time, they can improve their farms’ resilience and production and increase their incomes. 

For example, a cattle rancher in Nicaragua planted trees to prevent soil erosion on her pasture land. Farmers in Zimbabwe planted shade trees around their coffee to protect the plants and soil from rising temperatures and improve the quality of their crop. 

Fruit trees—such as banana trees—often work well in agroforestry systems, giving farmers an extra income stream.

A farmer in Central America stands in a field with a bunch of bananas. Part of a blog post on international development terms to know.

2. Enterprise development

Enterprise development refers to supporting the growth of businesses, particularly micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Across much of Africa, Latin America, and Asia, these businesses create more than 70% of jobs, provide essential goods and services to communities, and serve as a market for farmers and other suppliers. Supporting their growth is critical to fighting poverty. 

TechnoServe’s approach to enterprise development focuses on helping entrepreneurs access the business skills training, finance, and markets they need to grow while strengthening the business ecosystem.

3. Hidden hunger

‘Hidden hunger’ refers to micronutrient deficiencies that occur when people don’t consume enough essential vitamins and minerals. Around the world, many people cannot afford varied and nutritious diets. While they may consume enough calories each day, they don’t consume enough vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, zinc, folate, and other micronutrients. More than 2 billion people globally face hidden hunger, putting them at increased risk of life-altering diseases and disabilities. 

TechnoServe works with businesses across Africa and Asia to add vitamins and minerals to staple foods so that everyone can affordably access the micronutrients they need to prevent hidden hunger.

A food processing business in East Africa.

4. Human Development Index (HDI)

How do we measure development? One answer is the Human Development Index. Created by economist Mahbub ul Haq for the United Nations Development Program, its ranking of countries factors in not only national income per capita but also people’s life expectancy and years of schooling. It is grounded in the idea that development is measured not only with dollars and cents but also in one’s opportunity to build a better future.

5. Inclusive business

Inclusive business refers to business models that integrate and benefit low-income communities and marginalized groups as suppliers, workers, or consumers. 

TechnoServe works with enterprises to create inclusive business plans that enable entrepreneurs to grow their businesses while creating positive social impact. For example, we helped a snack manufacturer in Tanzania integrate smallholder farmers into its supply chain and a flour mill and cooking oil refinery in Zambia update its policies to add more women employees.

A small business owner in Tanzania stands in her shop.

6. Missing middle

In international development, ‘missing middle’ usually refers to a gap in access to finance. While large businesses can receive commercial loans at competitive rates and micro-enterprises are eligible for micro-finance, small and medium-sized businesses in the Global South have few financing options. 

A new case study from TechnoServe’s AINFP program detailed how combining access-to-finance efforts with business advisory, and working directly with banks, can help close this gap.

7. Net zero

Net zero is the idea that economic activities should remove as much greenhouse gas from the atmosphere as they add. For example, agricultural systems can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by swapping out synthetic fertilizers for organic alternatives or by improving the livestock feed given to cows so they produce less methane. They can also remove carbon from the atmosphere by planting more trees.

Read how TechnoServe works to help leading companies toward net-zero targets in their agricultural supply chains.

Now that you know more international development terminology, dig deeper into TechnoServe’s learning resources and news.