ATPS to Collaborate with AIAE in “Innovative Alternatives to Prosperity Metrics in Africa (IAPMA)” InitiativeBy Wairimu Mwangi and Marsden Momanyi - ATPS
Wednesday March 10, 2010 Nairobi: The ATPS today held a meeting with African Institute for Applied Economics (AIAE) to discuss ways of influencing innovative alternatives to Prosperity Metrics in Africa. Currently, Prosperity Metrics rely heavily on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) indices as the determinant for critical policy decisions in Africa. The initiative aims to provide a better understanding of the economy as an inclusive system that interacts with the society and the environment. Present at the meeting were Prof Eric Eboh (Executive Director, AIAE), Dr Kevin Urama (Executive Director, ATPS), Dr Nicholas Ozor (Research Officer – Post Doc, ATPS ), Ms Wairimu Mwangi (Research Officer, ATPS) and Dr Olumuyiwa Alaba (Senior Research Officer, ATPS).
GDP has over the years been the main metric for economic development. Its relevance is now being questioned by new paradigms and as a result, alternative perspectives are being sought for policy action. This is useful for Africa in terms of evolving a broader perspective to economic development and prosperity measurement. The purpose of this initiative therefore will be to define broader systems that interface innovation, environmental impacts, socioeconomic development and that include all actors notably; the policy makers, private sector, the youth etc in this new thinking. This can be maximized for poverty reduction and the attainment of other goals. This program will be implemented at the Pan- African level with the aim of drawing on measurements, tools and methodologies that could be the basis for dialogue, training and dissemination focusing mindset changes, and paradigm shifts in relevant sectors.
Dr Kevin Urama expressed confidence in the IAPMA initiative terming it as timely for African Governments. “For a long time Africa has been on the receiving end of development and innovation and this is an opportunity for Africa to take leadership in greening its economy.” He added that the integrated systems approach is enshrined in all facets of ATPS and its programmes. Although some of the ideas that define the IAPMA initiative challenge the economic development models of mainstream Global Financial Institutions which have a bias towards GDP approaches, Dr Urama reminded participants at the meeting that innovation does not occur in the mainstream. He said that although controversies exist within economic growth theories and between different schools of thought on the nexus among economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability, there is need to re-conceptualize growth in its disaggregated form to include inequality issues (wealth and income distribution, moral ethics, and environmental sustainability issues in inclusive growth models. “There is a need to reconcile the old theory with the current realities,” he added.
Prof Eboh (Executive Director AIAE) on his part underscored the need to start from the known and establish to what extent the current thought has influenced the policy paradigm by interrogating the existing African wide approaches in terms of how compliant they are based on certain bench marks.
The meeting resolved that the two organizations would work together towards organizing a roundtable consultative forum for key African Institutions under the theme “Innovative Alternatives to Prosperity Measures.” The forum will serve as an entry point for the broader initiative, foster buy-in and promote visibility of the initiative. The round table will aim to provide a better understanding of the economy as an inclusive system that interacts with the society and the environment, and present emerging green alternatives to brown economies.
The ATPS last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the AIAE which will see the two organizations collaborate on wide-ranging issues such as training, advocacy and enlightenment. In addition, the collaboration will seek to improve mutually benefitting capacities and networking resources.
Posted on Wednesday 10th March, 2010
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