Inclusive growth: Hot topic during AfDB Annual Meetings
A series of high-level seminars will be held during the AfDB Annual Meetings in Marrakech, Morocco from 27-31 May 2013, to explore new ideas and set out concrete actions that will help transform Africa’s economic boom into sustainable and inclusive growth. The panels will focus on the key issues facing the continent and explore how Africa can reap the benefits of its economic growth through investments in skills training, infrastructure, agriculture and education; and a broader engagement with the private sector. Participants to the meetings will include academics, government officials, researchers, development practitioners, as well as AfDB experts. The Themes include:
- Unlocking potential: Financing Infrastructure and Accelerating Regional Integration
- Inclusive Growth and Sustainability: Framing the Issues
- Global Value Chains: Africa, the factory floor of the World
- Africa’s Cities and Sustainability
- Demographic Dividend or Time Bomb?
- Africa’s Natural Resources: What is the Agenda?
The exchanges will inform and advance AfDB support for Africa’s transformation into a global player of technological innovation, agribusiness and manufacturing. Delegates will discuss the need to regulate and reap more benefits from the continent’s extractive industries; to add value to and make Africa a global leader in agriculture and manufacturing; to accelerate regional integration with infrastructure investments, to ensure growth is inclusive, benefitting all Africans; to invest in human capital; and to ensure Africa’s urbanization is a driver of economic development.
The topic on “Inclusive Growth and Sustainability: Framing the Issues” will certainly trigger a lot of debate since it has to do with equity, a sticking point in Africa’s political economy. The strong growth enjoyed by many African countries does not translate to shared opportunities in terms of human and physical development. Many countries that have achieved high gross domestic product growth rates, increased trade volumes and bigger foreign investments over the past decade have not enjoyed deep cuts in poverty and unemployment as a by-product.
Such high growth has not improved the quality of human development indicators in terms of food, clean water, shelter, health, education for the majority of their populations. For the AfDB, to achieve inclusive growth, African leaders and policy-makers have to put in place policies and institutions. These policies should be backed by good governance that would ensure that high economic growth results in wider access to sustainable socio-economic opportunities for a broader range of people, while protecting the most vulnerable groups in society.
A commitment to reducing inequalities is needed, and ways should be found to tackle social disparities linked to wealth, gender and rural-urban divide and to facilitate economic and social mobility as a function of growth.