22 March 2017 | Economic transformation: a new approach to inclusive growth



January 2017 saw the launch of the UK Department for International Development’s first economic development strategy, demonstrating how the potential of economic transformation to create jobs and reduce poverty is becoming central to the objectives of many developing countries and aid agencies.

There is no doubt that economic transformation – the movement of labour from low- to higher-productivity sectors (for example, agriculture to manufacturing) – has the potential to reduce poverty and drive sustainable, inclusive growth in developing countries. Yet, efforts to promote transformational policies have not always proven to be successful; many low-income countries that have attempted to transform their economies have experienced low-quality, job-less growth with little in the way of genuine transformation.

This ODI panel event saw the launch of SET’s flagship approach paper, and brought together key figures driving forward the transformation agenda to discuss: what is economic transformation, what does it mean for the world’s poorest, and how can it be supported in practice?



Dirk Willem te Velde @DWteVelde – Principle Research Fellow and Director of the SET programme, ODI


Margaret McMillan – Associate Professor of Economics, Tufts University and Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research

David Booth @DavidBoothODI – Senior Research Fellow, ODI


Louise Fox – Chief Economist, USAID

Edward Brown – Director of Policy Advisory Service, African Center for Economic Transformation (via video link)

Melinda Bohannon – Deputy Director, Growth & Resilience Department, Department for International Development

Debapriya Bhattacharya – Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (via video link)


12.00-12.30: Sandwich lunch served

12.30-12.35: Introduction from the Chair

12.35-13.10: Speakers presentations and questions from the Chair

13.10-14.00: Q&A with the audience


Photo credit: Andrea Moroni