Agenda for Active Policy Engagement

Fundamental-nature-of-policy-change
Policy does not happen in a vacuum. It responds to the forces at play by attempting to stop,
enhance or redirect them. Building on the framework of the outlooks outlined in the revious
section, it can be argued that many of the current drivers of growth overtly or covertly promote a “Winner Takes All” approach characterized by a predatory attitude to the market.
At the same time, in spite of being moved by the best of intentions, most of development action fits the “Social Bribery” approach as it frequently focuses on ensuring that some crumbs fall off the table, fails to engage with the drivers of marginalization and inequality. This is a noble objective– one that the development community should not abandon. However, as currently conceptualized and executed, it is unable to promote the deep social change to which it aspires. Despite this reality, much of the development discourse is focused on transformational approaches, leading to the accusation that it is as disconnected from the real world as finance is from the real economy. This disconnect between the drivers of growth, development action and its discourse, frame the policy challenge that East Africa must confront.

Policy does not happen in a vacuum. It responds to the forces at play by attempting to stop,
enhance or redirect them. Building on the framework of the outlooks outlined in the previous section, it can be argued that many of the current drivers of growth overtly or covertly promote a “Winner Takes All” approach characterized by a predatory attitude to the market.
At the same time, in spite of being moved by the best of intentions, most of development action fits the “Social Bribery” approach as it frequently focuses on ensuring that some crumbs fall off the table, fails to engage with the drivers of marginalization and inequality. This is a noble objective – one that the development community should not abandon. However, as currently conceptualized and executed, it is unable to promote the deep social change to which it aspires. Despite this reality, much of the development discourse is focused on transformational approaches, leading to the accusation that it is as disconnected from the real world as finance is from the real economy. This disconnect between the drivers of growth, development action and its discourse, frame the policy challenge that East Africa must confront.

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