Jablonski & Venugopal What’s Belgium Ghana do?
Issues regarding development: A comparative study of Belgium and Ghana
While some countries enjoy a high level of economic wealth and superior livingstandards, many others do not have the same level of economic development. To analyzethis disparity, two countries will be examined: Belgium, a powerful MEDC in WesternEurope with an HDI of 0.946 (13
in the world), and one of the wealthiest LEDCs inAfrica, Ghana, which has an HDI of 0.553 (135
in the world) (UNDP, 2008). This casestudy will evaluate the economic wealth, trade and debt, education, health care, equalityand environmental status in both countries.In general, the GDP reflects the economic wealth of the country. This is evidentlytrue for Belgium, which has a real GDP per capita of $36,500, and for Ghana, where theaverage inhabitant has a much lower income of $1,400 (CIA, 2008). With more moneyto spend, Belgians can afford a better quality of life than their Ghanaian counterparts,with the ability to cover all their basic needs such as clothing and shelter, and to indulgein certain luxuries such as world-famous Belgian chocolates. In Ghana, such materialamenities are simply unaffordable. Often, adequate shelter is inaccessible, especially for many rural to urban migrants who live in shanty settlements (Levy, 1999). Belgium’shigher GDP and relative economic prosperity is due to several factors, one of them beingthe diversity of its industries: the production of engineering and metal products,transportation equipment, scientific instruments, and processed food and beverages areonly some of its many industries (CIA, 2008). With a diverse economy, it is lessvulnerable to the fluctuations in prices on the world market. Despite this diversity, someof Belgium’s industries – particularly heavy industries – are stagnating due to decline in1