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On December 8-9, 2014 the Africa Forum on Inclusive Economies was held in Nairobi, Kenya. This year's forum was the second bi-annual convening of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Partnership Forum and was co-convened by the Rockefeller Foundation (RF), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The Forum was opened by Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya. Kenyatta emphasized the importance of inclusivity in Africa and Kenya’s role as one of five pilot countries in the recent launch of Social Development Index.
“Today my challenge to you is to be proactive, to be bold in your thinking, and to have an open mindset so as not to reinvest our scarce resources in approaches of yesteryear,” he said.
The AfDB was represented by the Special Gender Envoy, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi; Gabriel Negatu, Regional Director for the East African Regional Resource Center; and Emelly Mutambatsere, Principal Research Economist.
Fraser-Moleketi provided a keynote speech on the subject of inclusive economies, emphasizing three main questions, namely: How does Africa invest in and promotes inclusive growth? How can regional integration promote inclusive growth? And how can private sector contribute to inclusive growth?
Negatu, for his part, participated in a panel entitled "The Great Debate: Inclusive growth or Rapid Economic Growth as a panelist and asked whether inclusivity and rapid economic growth are mutually exclusive.
"Growth is taking place but without real transformation. Most growth is on the back of extractives or commodities and does not lead to transformation," Negatu said. “Economic growth can happen without inclusivity; however, inclusivity cannot take place without growth.”
On Day 2 of the forum, Emelly Mutambatsere presented a paper on achieving inclusivity through infrastructure entitled “Africa’s Quest for Inclusive Growth: What it means for MDB’s Infrastructure Operations”. The paper was prepared by the AfDB’s Development Research Department and co-authored by Issa Faye, Division Manager. The paper argues that in order to effectively support inclusive growth, infrastructure designs should focus on maximizing end-user access benefits.
Other participants included Valerie Dabady and Dalya Elzyniy from the AfDB’s Resource Mobilization and External Finance Department (FRMB), who helped organize the forum alongside the Rockefeller Foundation and ECA.
The forum was attended by a broad variety of stakeholders, including private sector, think tanks, government officials and development institutions. With the great success of the forum, AfDB ensures its collaborative role with its development partners.