This issue of Futuribles sees the launch of a new series, in the wake of a number that are ongoing (on political visions, the brain, the contribution of enterprises to the common good etc.). This time the focus isn’t thematic but regional and relates to Africa. The first contribution to the series concerns foresight studies as practised in Africa and, to set the scene, in this article Souleymane Bachir Diagne shows how foresight philosophy has gained a footing in Africa, how it is developing and how it should be viewed on that continent.
After reminding us of the need for the foresight practitioner to look ahead and think for a generation and an era different from her own, Souleymane Bachir Diagne recalls, in a nuanced way, the arguments that African time is very particular and that a culturally different approach is therefore required with regard to foresight. He also stresses the degree to which the African continent is emblematic of the future, given the youth of its population. This demographic dynamism and youthfulness – together with the economic rise of Africa – should breed hope not fear, as Bachir Diagne sees it, contrary to what is implied in some alarmist arguments around migration that have enjoyed a certain vogue in Europe in recent years. And, ultimately too, it is through education (beginning with the education of girls), by encouraging Africa to prepare its youth for a different era, that foresight studies can and should find application on the continent.