AfDB, Rockefeller Foundation and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Convene Forum on Africa’s Growth

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The Rockefeller Foundation, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Tuesday, December 9 convened the Africa Forum on Inclusive Economies to discuss greater inclusion as Africa grows economically.

In the last decade, Africa has experienced unprecedented growth for the continent with the influx of multinational corporations creating new market opportunities for millions and making Africa a prime destination for investment and entrepreneurs. But, as this African Renaissance has taken shape, now is the time to ensure that the growth Africa is experiencing is inclusive and ultimately sustainable – taking advantage of all the human capital Africa has to offer by reaching both the bottom and the top of the pyramid.

The forum has brought together key thought leaders and policy-makers from 23 African countries and beyond to closely discuss and propel forward-thinking and action around the theme of “Advancing inclusive economies in Africa”, and to help develop and embed a common understanding on inclusive economies within the African context.

The opening ceremony was officiated by Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, who was joined by Zia Khan, Vice-President of the Rockefeller Foundation; Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office; Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, AfDB Special Envoy for Gender; and Takiywaa Manuh, ECA’s Director, Social Development Division.

As a next step, the Rockefeller Foundation intends to create a $500,000 Inclusive Economies Accelerator Fund for Africa that will provide support for innovations designed to accelerate the development of an inclusive economies agenda. The fund is open to partners’ contributions, and AfDB and Microsoft intend to contribute to the fund.

The objective of the African Forum on Inclusive Economies was threefold:

  • Focus new ideas towards the advancement of an inclusive economies approach with key African institutions and influencers;
  • Crowd in significant resources towards activities, measures and metrics that will provide practical opportunities for influencers and institutions to adopt best practice options in advancing inclusive business practices; and
  • Provide a platform to further enhance thinking and critical debate on the issue of inclusive economies.

Expected outcomes are:

  • A common understanding of the current status of inclusivity in Africa.
  • Challenges and opportunities that pan-African institutions should embrace in order to advance an inclusive national and regional agenda.
  • Broader acceptance of the Africa Social Development Index as a tool for national target setting and measurement of inclusivity.

The most significant challenge facing Africa is inequality. Our focus should now be on developing a skills base that is reflective of the opportunities emerging from our growing extractive sectors. Let us not forget our greatest asset, our talented youth population, and reap the dividends from them, our growing workforce. African governments should break down regional barriers to trade, as 54 individual countries may face limited opportunities, but through regional bodies barriers to inclusion can be broken,” said Kenyatta.

Inclusive growth – growth that is truly shared between men and women, rural and urban communities, richer nations and poorer – is the cornerstone of the African Development Bank’s 2013-2022 Strategy, themed ‘At the centre of Africa’s transformation’.  Our ongoing task is to turn strategy into action and results, transforming strong African growth into shared African growth,” said AfDB President Donald Kaberuka.

“Inclusive development is a human rights and social justice requirement. Currently, our focus is to support member states and structural economic transformation, and a strategy that can also be pursued for inclusive and sustainable development. These efforts involve the commitment of our member states to create decent job opportunities through industrialization, expansion of the fiscal space for social investments and strengthening the capacity of state institutions to meet social service expenditures that must be checked against delivery,” said Carlos Lopes, ECA Executive Secretary.

“The $500,000 initial seed money for the Inclusive Economies Accelerator Fund for Africa will build on the Foundation’s philanthropic tradition of catalysing funding to surface and support scalable innovations, and will promote inclusivity by actively seeking out grantees that have scalable solutions to achieve both social and economic impact, and support research that can inform efforts to make African economies more inclusive,” said Biteye of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office.

About The Rockefeller Foundation
For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation's mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas—advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities—to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot—or will not. For more information, please visit

About the African Development Bank
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. Founded in 1964, it comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 34 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states. For more information, please visit

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN's five regional commissions, ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development. Made up of 54 member States, and playing a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape, ECA is well positioned to make unique contributions to address the Continent’s development challenges.