INCLUDE Platform

Researchers from the research groups that are funded by INCLUDE through NWO/WOTRO are sharing their views in the consultation on inclusive development. The consultation explores ways to promote inclusiveness in the Dutch policy agenda on trade and international cooperation. The contributions will feed into the policy letter that Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, has committed to send to the Parliament in spring 2015.

As the concept ‘inclusive development/growth’ targets a wide variety of groups, it is difficult to prioritize which of the ‘exclusion’ categories should be addressed first. Rob van Tulder, leader of the research project ‘How Inclusive Business Strategies Can Contribute to Inclusive Development in Sub-Saharan Africa’, argues that because of the ambition to involve corporations in the policy agenda, the question then also becomes how to stimulate companies to adopt truly ‘inclusive business models’.

Marginalisation is a complex phenomenon that is not susceptible to simple answers or single approaches, Morag Goodwin, head of the research group ‘Investigating structural barriers to Batwa Inclusion in Development’, writes. There is not one form of inclusion or one form of a good life; this is why the starting point should always be to explore with marginalised people how they view their own inclusion in society.

Chibuike Uche, leader of the research project ‘Dutch Multinational Businesses, Dutch Government and the Promotion of Productive Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa’, also argues that overcoming exclusion is difficult, particularly because aid flows are transmitted through governance structures that are not controlled by those who are excluded.

In many poor countries, growth does not always translate to poverty reduction. Jane Mariara of the research group ‘Productive Employment in the Segmented Markets of Fresh Produce’ addresses a number of policies that are critical to address poverty, inequality and enhance growth.

Crelis Rammelt and Maggi Leung of the research project ‘Feeder Road Development for Inclusive Productive Employment’ also write that over the past 50 years, (rapid) economic growth in practically all Global South and emerging economies has gone hand in hand with rising income inequality and environmental degradation. This raises a huge red flag to the dominant neoliberal and globalisation-oriented strategies of economic growth (often framed as ‘development’) model practiced over the last decades.

In his contribution, Addisu Lashitew of the research group  ‘How Inclusive Business Strategies can contribute to Inclusive Development in Sub-Saharan Africa?argues that there will be much to gain when businesses are involved as partners for development. Businesses might be enticed to go ‘inclusive’ given the massive size of the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ with its considerable growth prospect. They can also find new, socially meaningful use for their competences, potentially creating sustainable business value in the process.

Joseph Mumba, also part of the research group ‘How Inclusive Business Strategies Can Contribute to Inclusive Development in Sub-Saharan Africa’, describes how business models can become inclusive. Successful inclusive business models require a well-established and coordinated supportive ecosystem within which various stakeholders can play important roles in developing it. In his view, the Dutch Government can play a key role in helping to develop the capacities of local stakeholders including local communities, knowledge institutions, government institutions and civil society organizations.

Charles Omusana of the research project ‘Changing the Mindset of Ugandan Entrepreneurs: From Muppets to Gazelles’ argues that for economic development and poverty reduction to take place in the least developed and developing countries, development of the economic infrastructure is critical since it is a perquisite for private sector to thrive. However, for meaningful and sustainable economic development to take place having economic infrastructure alone is not sufficient. It has to be supplemented with effective social infrastructure development initiatives.

Focusing on fragile and conflict affected countries, Akinyinka Akinyoade of the research group ‘Dutch Multinational Businesses, Dutch Government and the Promotion of Productive Employment in Sub-Saharan Africawrites that basic education service delivery, system of progressive taxation, and reform (or building) of public service administration are needed to promote inclusive development in these areas. Simultaneous implementation of these interventions has added value of positively addressing societal inequalities as well as inclusion of marginalized groups in zones that are just emerging from conflict.

More views on inclusive development can be read on the consultation page.

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David Sogge

2015-09-18 17:09

Can Africa “entrepreneur itself” out of basic problems? A lot of people would say no, including a Kenyan observer, interviewed at a recent African Innovators Summit: ‘One of Kenya’s best known tech investors Ory Okolloh has thrown cold water on the push for entrepreneurship and innovation on the continent. “You can’t entrepreneur around bad leadership, we can’t entrepreneur around bad policy,” Okolloh said, criticizing what she called the “fetishization” of entrepreneurship and neglect of fundamental problems hampering African countries. “There is growth in Africa but Africans are not growing,” she said echoing earlier comments she has made.’ More of her remarks, and a video, are available at:


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