The majority of Africa’s poor have not been positively impacted by the over flogged economic growth on the continent. Have they benefited from improvement of the so-called “Inclusive growth” in Africa, which is supposed to translate their economic situations into greater well-being? The issue is not seen as economic, but has also become a legal issue of basic rights. Inclusive growth was the theme of the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on 9 and 10 June 20
Sharing perspectives on this critical issue, the AfDB’s Legal Counsel and Adviser to the General Counsel, Godfred Awa Eddy Penn, recalled the Bank Group’s prime mandate, which is to foster economic and social development on the African continent. This is why, he said: “I believe that a focus on inclusive growth on the African continent during the upcoming Annual Meetings is both timely and opportune. This is a milestone in the institution’s life”, he stressed. He explained that the continent was replete with natural resources that could foster the growth of individuals and society at large if they were used to engender equitable growth.
On the subject of governance and corruption, he said the Bank should pursue its role in institutional capacity building, helping African countries to deepen their understanding of the role of law in promoting good governance and poverty reduction in the context of national budgets, budget cycle, fiscal reporting and transparency. He however confessed that “the is no accurate barometer for measuring governance either as good or bad”. He emphasized: “There is enough empirical evidence to suggest that governments that act in total disregard of the good of their populations and dissipate their resources through various means, including corruption, cannot be considered under any reasonable standard to be practicing good governance.”
Thus for there to be inclusive growth, Penn believes there is a need for relevant and well-thought out social security laws, investment laws that encourage both domestic and foreign investment; good banking laws that ensure more entrenched and equitable spread of banking services in societies; laws that encourage savings and investments; laws that favor fair labor standards; as well as laws that ensure equitable taxation and the provision of essential but also good quality public services. “This is not meant to be a complete inventory of the types of laws and legal instruments to make life suddenly become a paradise on earth, but they form a good bedrock for beginning and entrenching the foundations of equitable and inclusive growth in most African societies,” Penn added.