Africa, Inclusive Growth

Fostering inclusive growth and achieving the sustainable development goals in Africa

Koketso Mokoditoa | Aug 30, 2017


To highlight the upcoming Responsible Business Forum in South Africa, we set up an exciting writing competition open to students on the topic of “Inclusive Growth in Africa & Sustainable Development Goals”

Read an insightful article written by student Koketso Mokoditoa which is titled “Fostering inclusive growth and achieving the SDGs in Africa.”

The continent of Africa has come a long way from where it was two decades ago before the strides of development were duly enforced under the buzz term “Africa Rising”. The continent has evolved into one of the most economically progressing and participating in the world today and many countries in it have been able to appreciate economic growth, a stronger public sector to service their people and increased private sector investment. This has all led to the translation of the improved lamentable social indicators that have clothed Africa for generations passed. Yet despite the accruing progression, not all people feast in this development; since in many countries, the fruits of growth and prosperity have only been able to reach a few. Poverty, inequality, food insecurity, and low living standards have not been able to completely escape the land. The sustainable development goals as set out by the member states of the United Nations stand to be the mainstay and blue print by which the African continent should lead with in achieving inclusive growth.

The nature of applied social protection systems are there to prevent poverty and inequalities. Therefore, it primarily becomes the government’s responsibility to take lead role in addressing the inequalities and unequitable distribution of resources as they affect their citizens in an attempt to ending all forms of poverty. An important message surrounding the process of achieving inclusive growth is for there to be acknowledgement of the oversights in the public sector, such as not being able to successfully transfer expertise from national level to the very local levels of government. The nexus between the tiers of government should be a two way process with the central level heading economic, fiscal and legislative policies and the monitoring and effective implementation be done at the decentralized level through sufficient transfer of resources and authority. This means that effective policy considerations need to be done that will be met by thorough implementation.

Ending hunger and achieving good health should be undertaken in building a rural inclusive economy that would subsequently revolve around sustainable agricultural development. Through the advances of country level programmes like The Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme the continent has been able to increase its agricultural production by up to 160% over the past three decades. However, during the 2016 conference of the World Economic Forum, it was noted that Africa continues to be a net importer of food, although it has 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land. It is therefore key to be able to select and manage converting the under used land in communal areas to commercial production and undertaking land reform projects. This could possibly lead African agriculture to create continental trade, higher exports and provide access to sufficient, nourishing and
healthy food for its people.

A hydropowered irrigation pump in use at the Kabwadu Women's Banana Farm in Zambia. Photo by Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos

Factory workers producing shirts at Sleek Garment Export, in Accra, Ghana on October 13, 2015. Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank

The promise of the fourth industrial revolution is upon us and at the current stage seems to threaten future job security and contribute towards unemployment. This means there should be a public policy response to this through government being able to get in touch with the adaption of new technology and how best it can work towards advancing the lives of the citizens. Increased innovation and infrastructure leads to higher employment rates and encourages entrepreneurship. Impressive innovations like the M-Shwari in Kenya- which is a collaboration between Safaricom mobile and the Commercial Bank of Africa to create mobile money accounts with interest and deposit insurance in order to offer financial services in the form of loans to upcoming entrepreneurs. Such strides in development and collaborations allows economic booms and decent work to be created. Africa needs many jobs. According to the dependency ratio of Africa, for every 100 Africans of working age this day, there are approximately 80 children and or elderly people depending on them for support- Compared to the global dependency ratio average of 100:54. Furthermore, Improved urban planning needs to take place considering more people are likely to move towards urban areas. This calls for sustainable patterns of urban development as well as aiding the development of rural areas to make them socially, economically and environmentally inhabitable to those that remain in them. When urban and rural development happen at the core of promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, job creation with good decent living income and healthy ecological and social environments to live in, the progression towards reduced inequalities is underway.

There are two SDG goals that sit quite closely to my heart which I left preceding the conclusion of this article; Quality Education and Gender equality. As a female student in South Africa, I have come to understand the importance of receiving a quality education from foundation phase until institutions of higher learning are reached. Receiving quality education is not limited to going to riotous school with state of the art buildings. When an individual receives quality education, we recognize their ability to go beyond numeric and literacy skills but to tap into their full potential and contribute substantively to the development of society and themselves according to their might and ability. The marginalization of women through discrimination, gender based violence and patriarchy has for a long time robbed many women of opportunities and space to explore their potential. Thus the growth of Africa cannot take place if women are excluded from it. Thomas Sankara said “The revolution and women’s liberation go together. We don’t talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the revolution to triumph. Women hold up the other half of the sky!”

Inclusive growth in Africa can be achieved when the people see the potential for collective strength, through stronger country partnerships in achieving these sustainable development goals and pooling resources to making sure they are met. We also need formidable levels of leadership that are people centred and anti-corrupt. Africa will grow when its people start recognizing each other.



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