Futuribles Journal n° 430

Géopolitique - Institutions

Foresight Thinking in Africa: Discourses and Practices


As mentioned at the beginning of the article by Souleymane Bachir Diagne, this issue of Futuribles sees the launch of a new series, relating on this occasion, to Africa. The first contribution to this series is concerned with foresight studies as practised in Africa; and, in the article that follows, the director of the African Futures Institute (AFI) Alioune Sall offers a conspectus of discourses and practices in the field of foresight that have been seen in Africa over some 40 years now.

He shows, for example, the extent to which the African states, in their concern to develop national or regional ‘visions’ to guide their development strategies, committed themselves to the discipline as early as the 1960s – and even more significantly from the 1990s onwards. After quite a detailed review of these many foresight exercises undertaken in Africa, he analyses their chief characteristics: he shows how and in what context they have been carried out and he stresses the institutional difficulties they have run up against in some instances etc. Lastly, he examines the potential evolution of national long-term perspective studies (the NLTPSs that have been very widely promoted by the AFI), given the ways these have been implemented, the degree of involvement of the actors (states, international organizations, development aid agencies etc.), their impact etc., urging that foresight exercises be continued in Africa, while nonetheless taking account of their previous track record, so that they may play a more effective role in shaping development strategies.

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