Since its establishment in June 2012, the Platform held four meetings: 22-23 October 2012 in The Hague, 4-5 April 2013 in Accra,  30 October – 1 November 2013 in The Hague and 13-15 May 2014 in Addis Ababa.

In October 2012, the Knowledge Platform on Development Policies agreed on its overarching theme: Making Development in Africa More Inclusive. While most African countries have registered high growth in the last decade, this does not yet translate sufficiently in poverty reduction. Productive employment is the key to ensure that vulnerable and poor groups, especially young people and women, benefit from growth. This requires policies for economic transformation and inclusive employment policies. However, such inclusive policies can only be realized if they are supported by coalitions of strategic actors across the state and society that can overcome resistance to change among the ruling political and commercial elites.

At its first meeting, the Platform identified three subthemes for further examination:

  1. Promoting Productive Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa
  2. Strategic Actors for Inclusive Development
  3. Social Inclusion and Sustainable Growth

Concept Notes were prepared on Promoting Productive Employment (by Adam Szirmai et al) and on Strategic Actors for Inclusive Development (by Jean Bossuyt et al), while the theme of Social Inclusion for Inclusive Development was first explored in a Scoping Conference how measures to include poor and vulnerable groups can contribute to growth and be linked to growth processes.

At its meeting of 4-5 April 2013 the Platform discussed the Concept Notes on Productive Employment and Strategic Actors for Inclusive Development and decided to elaborate these themes for tendering by NWO/WOTRO. Two calls were published in September 2013 by NWO/WOTRO.

The Platform also approved the organizational set-up, a document that describes the organizational aspects of the Platform and decided to outsource the Platform secretariat.

The third meeting of the Platform on 1 November 2013 was preceded by the Scoping Conference on Social Inclusion and Sustainable Growth (30-31 October 2013). About 70 African, Dutch and international experts examined how Social Protection programs and initiatives can realize poverty reduction and thereby contribute to sustainable growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. The experts discussed introductions by among others David Hulme of Manchester University, Benjamin Davis of FAO, Chris Elbers of Free University Amsterdam and Fabio Veras of the International Policy Center for Inclusive Growth. Country experiences from Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda and Mozambique were presented by African experts. Policy issues were highlighted in introductions on the linkages between formal and informal Social Protection systems and on the role of non-state actors in implementing Social Protection.

Following the Scoping Conference, the Platform considered a variety of possible research themes. The decision was taken to focus on the added value of Social Protection over alternative policies with the same objective: to both reduce poverty of vulnerable groups and increase growth. The call for proposals on this theme was published in June 2014.

The Platform discussed expanding its knowledge network and activities for sharing knowledge on the theme of inclusive development in Africa. Platform members emphasized that there is already a wealth of knowledge, the challenge is to make that knowledge ‘work’ for policy-makers and practitioners. Ideas for such activities were discussed during the fourth meeting on the 15th of May. This meeting was preceded by a Policy Research Seminar “Achieving inclusive development in Africa: Politics, processes and political settlement” co-hosted by the Developmental Regimes Africa project led by the Overseas Development Institute with the University of Leiden and the Knowledge Delivery pillar and Capacity Development Division of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. To stimulate a forward-looking debate, about 90 representatives of Africa’s major policy knowledge networks, international agencies based in Africa, distinguished researchers and policy thinkers, and influential business leaders and government advisers in the region were brought together to:

  • Exchange evidence and ideas from completed research on the economic and political conditions for achieving economic transformation and inclusive development in Africa;
  • Assess how to achieve better research-policy linkages on transformation and inclusion, with particular reference to productive employment and social protection.


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