Structural transformation in the African context: reflections on priorities for the post-2015 development agenda

African thinkers, parliamentarians and civil society organisations who gathered in Midrand, South Africa, hosted by the Pan African Parliament, articulated what is emerging as a growing consensus in various fora taking place on the continent: ‘the building blocks of development’ have to be front and centre in the post-2015 discussions; and the imperative to underpin a developmental/structural transformation has to inform the approach taken to governance (developmental governance), financing and the global developmental partnerships, as well as the socio-economic development goals and targets.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) agenda helped to focus the world’s attention on the importance of explicitly concentrating on and channelling resources to poverty reduction and various dimensions of social development. In Africa, this was against the backdrop of structural adjustment and ‘development as usual’ policies which had not only failed to deliver human development outcomes, but also resulted in reversals in a number of countries.

In spite of gains on the various MDGs, in the context of a post-2015 development framework, it’s clear that there needs to be a focus on a developmental transformation that encompasses the structural transformation of Africa’s political economy, coupled with developmental governance and a focus on the social, economic, environmental and spatial dimensions of sustainability and equitable development- in order to attain sustainable human development on the continent over the medium term, as well as poverty reduction in the context of current systemic vulnerability.

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