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POLICY BRIEF: Locating the Policy Space for Inclusive Green Growth within the SADC Extractive Sector

Harm to the environment in the pursuit of economic growth has begun to threaten both growth itself and indicators of social progress (World Bank, 2012). The argument for greener growth thus places a greater focus on maximising the ‘socio-economic’ development synergies alongside minimising pollution, environmental degradation and socio-environmental harms. This is of particular importance for sectors of economic importance and high growth that serve as catalysts for social, economic or environmental problems. The extractive industries (EIs) of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) form such a sector.

SADC member states are rich in natural resources and rely on their extraction and exportation for economic growth. Specifically, the sector constitutes 70% of gross domestic product (GDP) in Angola, 29% in Botswana, 21% in Guinea, 20% in Mauritania, 11% in Namibia and 9% in South Africa.

However, despite high economic growth within the SADC region, rapid economic expansion has in fact not delivered on many of its implied social benefits. In fact, intense resource extraction has been harmful both socially and environmentally to varying degrees. Limited progress has been made in expanding the scope of social returns and economic opportunities for many of the poor people in rural areas, often located near points of extraction.

The Green Guide (GG): Aligning political and social contexts for Green and Inclusive Growth project, funded by CDKN and in collaboration with the SADC Parliamentary Forum, the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) finds that a shift to greener and inclusive growth is not likely to manifest as an immediate break with EI-dependent growth. Rather, the effective management of such an important regional sector will be pivotal to such a transformation in the region.

This policy brief, Locating the Policy Space for Inclusive Green Growth within the SADC Extractive Sector, presents the case for an EI-focused, inclusive green growth strategy in the region, and identifies some practical policy entry points which can deliver positive economic, societal, and environmental outcomes. The authors seek to identify ways to shift from a myopic and misplaced faith in trickle-down economics, one that relies on growth itself as the best way for tackling poverty and other social problems, to a more inclusive, co-benefit-based, and holist approach to growth and development.

Further reading:

Project homepage: A Green Guide to align political and social contexts for green and inclusive growth
Policy brief: Going Green with Equity
Policy brief: Considering Growth and Equity in SADC Today
Policy brief: From Research to Results: Greener Pathways for the SADC Region

For more information or for help using the one of our toolkits, please contact cdkn@southsouthnorth.org