The African Social Development Index: Measuring human exclusion for structural transformation

The African Social Development Index: Measuring human exclusion for structural transformation
Photo credit: OHRCR

10 Mar 2015

Executive summary

Despite two decades of fast and sustained economic growth, Africa is yet to translate its economic gains into meaningful social development outcomes. Profound inequalities persist in many countries, and growth has not been sufficiently inclusive and equitable for all segments of the population. As a result, exclusion has become a challenge for Africa’s future development, and there is wide recognition that Africa’s transformation will only be successful and sustainable if it is also inclusive – ensuring that each and every individual reaps the benefits of growth and participates in the social and economic development of the country.

The African Social Development Index (ASDI) to measure exclusion in Africa is proposed in response to a special request from member States of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) that an African tool be developed to capture the continent’s current and specific social challenges, while helping them to develop more inclusive and equitable policies. It is built on an important premise that social development should be reflected in improved human conditions. Too often, the focus is on measuring the contextual elements of social development, such as improved service delivery or increased investments in social sectors, which are expected to have a positive impact on livelihoods. Translating these contextual factors into concrete outcomes at an individual level, however, comes with challenges. Following a life-cycle approach, the ASDI aims to measure the impact of social policies on human exclusion in six key areas: survival, health, education, employment, productive income and decent life. One of its key features is that it can provide measurements across time and can be disaggregated by gender and geographical location, thus helping to capture patterns of exclusion and inequality within and between countries.

The Index has been developed for and together with ECA member States through a highly consultative process, taking into account Africa’s current and emerging social challenges. It is a simple, intuitive policy tool that African countries can use to plan and improve the effectiveness of their social policies. As such, it is intended to enhance Africa’s capacity to develop policy options that can contribute to the building of more inclusive and equitable societies on the continent.

In this sense, the ASDI provides an effective policy tool for African countries to accelerate their progress toward inclusive development and set the agenda for social transformation on the continent. As a monitoring mechanism, the ASDI can be instrumental in increasing regional and global commitments to social and human development, through instruments such as the African Social Policy Framework and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. It also dovetails with the priorities spelled out in the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Common African Position on the post-2015 development agenda, where the issues of inequality and exclusion have been given prominence.

» Find out more about the 2015 Conference of Ministers here.

Source UNECA
Website Visit website
Date 10 Mar 2015
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