The Economy of Wellbeing
The World Economic Forum (WEF) believes that while GDP remains an excellent indicator that a country’s economic policies are working, this should no longer be used as an accurate measure in isolation of other important indicators. Their article titled Inequality Makes Us Unhappy states: “A country may have a growing economy but, at the same time, large swathes of its population can remain struggling, seemingly cut off from the prosperity enjoyed the rich and powerful, and with little or no prospect of any upward mobility coming their way.”
In their paper titled The Pursuit of Happiness: An Economy of Wellbeing, The Brookings Institute agrees, saying: “Indeed, there is an ongoing discussion among prominent academics—and increasingly among policymakers—about complementing the standard measures of gross national product with national wellbeing indicators, indicators that can similarly be tracked over time and compared across countries.”
Being connected is essential to wealth and wellbeing
Embracing the practical outcome of an “economy of wellbeing” for all South African citizens, Cape Digital Foundation stands for the importance of individuals and their happiness being at the heart of South Africa’s smart township transformation initiatives – with connectivity and uptake of digital skills being essential to raising our standard of living, health, education, security, sense of community, psychological wellbeing and resilience, and the productive use of work and leisure time.
In their article, Cities can be happiness incubators for the world, WEF states “Happier people bestow incalculable social and economic benefits upon a society. Longer, healthier, more productive lives foster greater trust of one another, forge a wealth of social connections, and make richer contributions to the vibrancy of our communities and day-to-day living.”
South Africa’s potential to lead Africa’s economy of wellbeing
Africa is an emerging continent with the potential to become a global powerhouse. South Africa is unique in Africa with its level of first-world infrastructure alongside a third-world need for our citizens to benefit from that infrastructure. The key to success in our benefitting from an economy of wellbeing lies in all South African citizens having an equal opportunity to keep pace with advances in technology through widespread access to Internet connectivity at an affordable cost. Being connected brings a window on the world and a chance to be heard. It increases access to meaningful education and training. It brings an opportunity for self-sustainability that leads to hope for the future.