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Distinction between Economic Growth and Economic Development

(i) Meaning of Economic Growth

Economic growth is usually defined as the rate of expansion of the national income or total volume of production of goods and services, of a country. It is seen as the capacity to generate and sustain increase in the GNP. According to this view, a country is said to have experienced economic growth if the total output of goods and services was growing, usually at rate between 5.0 and 7.0 per cent.

(ii) Meaning of Economic Development

Economic development is the increasing ability of members of a given society to harness their natural resources and manipulate nature in a way that enhances their welfare with as little foreign assistance as possible.

Economic Growth Without Economic Development
From the two definitions given above, we can see that a country can achieve economic growth without economic development in as much as the country achieves increases in Gross National Product (GNP) of 5 or 7 per cent, without improving the standard of living of the society.

This sort of situation exists usually where the distribution of a country’s Gross National Product (GNP) is highly skewed, i.e. where there are vast differences in income so that only a small percentage of the population enjoys high income and the majority of the citizens find themselves in poverty, for example, in Nigeria.