Marrakesh, 15 October 2014 (ECA) – African nations will be able to better assess the impact of social policies on human exclusion – following the launch of an innovative tool, the African Social Development Index (ASDI), which was presented This week, at a Pre-Event of the Ninth African Development Forum (ADF9) in Marrakech, Morocco.
The ASDI is a multidimensional measure developed by the Social Development Policy Division of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in response to a call from African member States for an African-specific indicator of exclusion. The tool follows a life-cycle approach and aims at assessing progress in the reduction of exclusion in six dimensions of wellbeing, including health, education, employment, and income amongst others. Its key feature is that it may be used atregional, national and sub-national levels, to assess the impacts of exclusion between differentcountries, locations and groups of population.
The event was attended by over 200 participants – including representatives of governments and central banks, Regional Economic Commissions (UMA and ECOWAS), research institutions, civil society, the private sector as well as international institutions such as FAO, UNIDO, the Arab League and the World Bank. Of relevance was the presence of former Director-General of ILO, Mr. Juan Somavia, and former Executive Director of Social Protection in ILO, today advisory-minister of the President of Senegal, Mr. Assane Diop.
ECA’s contribution to provide African countries with a “compass” to gauge human exclusion and guide policy making towards a more inclusive and equitable growth was highly commended. The tool was considered relevant in helping countries to map successful inclusive policies andensuring that every individual is part of the development process.
“Inclusive development will be achieved when all our children have the same opportunity for survival, for nutrition and for education. Equality will be achieved when our youth have equal opportunity for employment, when households are able to maintain their families free of poverty, and when our elderly can enjoy their golden years decently. To achieve this transformation, we need to ensure that girls and women, boys and men, are at the centre of this process”, said ECA’s Executive Secretary, Carlos Lopes, in a recent article of his blog.
The ASDI is supporting countries to improve data collection and strengthen their capacities to monitor progress on poverty and exclusion beyond the traditional income-based measures.Indeed, the value added of the ASDI (as compared to other existing indicators) in capturing African multiple development challenges was praised by participants.
Note to editors:
The ASDI is currently being piloted in five African countries (Cameroon, Morocco, Kenya, Morocco, Senegal and Zambia) and will soon be rolled out on the continent, through a series of regional and sub-regional training and data collection processes. Initial results from Kenya show that exclusion in health and education in early stages of life remains high, with critical implications on social and economic opportunities in life. In Morocco, a 30% drop in exclusion 2001 and 2010 and a narrowing of gender gaps – with 60% reduction among women and 9% among men – indicate that implementing appropriate social policies can make a difference.
As a mechanism for monitoring and improving social policies, the ASDI can contribute to promote a more inclusive development agenda in Africa, and help countries increase their commitments towards international and regional social development frameworks, particularly as they embark in a global development agenda beyond 2015, where issues of equality and inclusion have been given prominence.
In the context of financing Africa’s transformation, results from the ASDI can help leverage public action and devise innovative mechanisms for increased increased financing and effectiveness of social spending.
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