Economic Inclusion

Defining Economic Inclusion

Economic inclusion refers to equality of opportunity for all members of society to participate in the economic life of their country as employers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and citizens. Fostering inclusion through active participation in the market economy involves increasing access to opportunity while generating additional economic growth.


Economic inclusion is essential to sustaining growth, building the middle class, raising national competitiveness, and promoting social and political inclusion. It goes beyond addressing the basic needs of the poor and vulnerable populations to actively engaging them in productive activities and helping them realize their full economic potential.

Economic inclusion bolsters the sustainability of market development because it builds buy-in for economic reforms. Furthermore, people who have a stake in the economic system and the prospect of social mobility have incentives to support economic and democratic development and claim a stake in the broader society. Ultimately, people from all income levels and all walks of life must have opportunities to shape their own destinies.

Goals of Economic Inclusion

Economic Inclusion occurs by active participation in the economy. It involves increasing access to opportunity by greater numbers of workers, entrepreneurs, and consumers in ways that generate additional economic growth. Successful inclusion unlocks the potential of more and more individuals and communities and empowers them to improve their circumstances and status. This active process differs from other responses to inequality that focus solely on reshaping outcomes, such as supplementing income levels or altering the distribution of wealth.

There are diverse approaches to building inclusion, each catering to different groups and their respective roles in the economy. In general, though, the overall objective of inclusion comprises several distinct goals:

Effective solutions to these challenges have two common threads. First, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders (including marginalized or underrepresented groups) are directly involved in the solutions – taking action in the shaping of the economy or articulating their perspectives in decision-making.

Second, institutional reforms provide a sound foundation for large-scale change by providing incentives and opportunities for individuals to create value.