Economic, social, spatial and political inclusion are the four key parameters that can be used for monitoring inclusive growth, a primary condition for the attainment of Africa's structural transformation.
Unveiling the tools at the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group's Annual Meetings on Monday in Marrakech, the Bank Group's Chief Economist and Vice-President, Mthuli Ncube, said that the tool was important for improving the quality of economic growth in African countries.
Ncube said that the rapid economic growth recorded by many African countries in recent times has not translated into meaningful poverty reduction and equality.
Bank experts cited the case in 2010, in which six of the world's ten most unequal countries were in Africa, at the same time that the continent was home to an increasing number of the most rapidly growing economies over the past decade.
Thus, there is an emerging consensus that economic growth in Africa, and developing countries in general, must be "inclusive" to avoid the type of upheaval witnessed in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, known as the "Arab Spring".
According to Ncube, inclusive growth refers to "economic growth that results in a wider access to sustainable socio-economic opportunities for a broader number of people, regions or countries, while protecting the vulnerable, all being done in an environment of fairness, equal justice, and political plurality."
For his part, AfDB Manager, Development Research Division, Abebe Shimeles, explained that the Bank has placed inclusive growth at the centre of its Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022) and in its engagement with its Regional Member Countries and other partners.
The institution therefor developed a composite Inclusive Growth Index of four to five dimensions that address collective issues of economic, spatial, political and gender inclusiveness.
The index is designed in such a way that it is mapped into the Bank's identified pillars of inclusive growth and has close linkage with the Ten-Year Strategy.
It aims at capturing the opportunities for inclusion by emphasising the importance of productive employment, redistribution of resources to engender equity, political inclusion and gender dimension, focusing on labour market participation of women for inclusive economic empowerment.
To overcome the handicap of the UN's Human Development Index, the inequality factor is tackled by using weighted GDP per capita.
The inclusive growth is important in tracking individual countries' progress towards inclusion across different dimensions and time. It is also important for benchmarking countries against each other, and therefore provides a useful assessment of countries lagging in achieving inclusion.
The session was chaired by the AfDB Development Research Director, Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa.