Key role for the state, industrialization and inclusive growth drivers for “emerging” countries

20 Mar 2015

Abidjan – A state with a clear, planned vision, focused on accelerated industrialization and inclusive growth, are among the key drivers of what have become known as “emerging” economies.

These were some of the conclusions of the three-day International Conference on the Emergence of Africa that ended today, in the capital of Cote d’Ivoire, Abidjan.

The conference brought together some 40 ministers and government officials from Africa and emerging countries, as well as private sector, academics and civil society to spur debate and exchange ideas about what drives the economic and social transformation it takes to become an emerging country. China, Brazil, India and Malaysia were particular examples.

Participants reached consensus that emergence is a deliberate process, requiring planning, peace and stability, conditions that require the central role of the state. In this context, the state must have a clear and shared vision that translates into action, while also being able to set the conditions for reforms that benefit citizens and support entrepreneurship.

Recognising that Africa’s recent economic growth has not benefitted the majority of people, the participants called for a shift in production and consumption patterns. Accelerated industrialization focused on technology and building human capital was seen as key.

Boosting integration to enable trade, and domestic resource mobilization while curbing illicit flows were additional recommendations to countries pursuing emergence.

The Abidjan declaration also calls for measures to ensure that the most vulnerable people are included in the financial system. For instance, promoting women’s access to credit so as to increase their share of participation in the economy and ensure a better social protection for more people.

Further recommendations to ensure that people are at the centre of transformational growth included improving social safety nets, education and health systems and a focus on the agricultural sector in rural areas to strengthen food security.

The Declaration’s recommendations will be taken forward and the creation of a Strategic Intelligence Center on the Emergence of Africa is proposed for further substantive exchanges.

The Abidjan conference was organized by the Ivorian government in association with UNDP, and with the support of the World Bank and the African Development Bank.