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Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2014

As Africa’s position in the world continues to grow and evolve in 2014, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative continues its tradition of asking its experts and colleagues to identify what they consider to be the key issues for Africa in the coming year. Join the conversation on Twitter using #ForesightAfrica and tell us what you think are the critical issues Africa must pay attention to in 2014.

A boy washes stone dust in search of gold nuggets at an open-pit gold mine in Lukingi village in Mubende district

Pushing the Employment Frontiers for Africa’s Rural and Urban Youth


John McArthur argues that a top priority for African policymakers should be to leverage the continent’s growing youth population since the absolute number of working age Africans will grow by around 14 million next year alone, leaving many low- and high-skilled workers without any source of income on an increasingly difficult labor market.

Read the brief (PDF) | Read the related blog post

Members of a visit, board, search and seizure team from the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68) and U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team 91104 instruct the crewmembers of a vessel to show their hands

The Not-So-Jolly Roger: Dealing with Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Guinea


Vanda Felbab-Brown explores policy solutions to the dangerous and costly threat of maritime piracy and its root causes, which include government failure and widespread poverty.

Read the brief (PDF) | Read the related blog post

Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (R), Fabricio Guariglia (L) and Kweku Vanderpuye (C) are pictured during a court appearance

International Justice: The International Criminal Court and Africa


John Mukum Mbaku examines the role of the International Criminal Court in Africa as the African Union asks its member countries to implement a policy of non-compliance and non-cooperation with the court.

Read the brief (PDF) | Read the related blog post

A man walks past a light rail station under construction at the Orile-Iganmu district in Lagos

Africa’s Capital Market Appetite: Challenges and Opportunities for Financing Rapid and Sustained Growth


Vera Songwe contends that access to international capital markets shows great potential for Africa’s growth, but big obstacles such as growing deficits and a lack of transparency could stand in the way.

Read the brief (PDF) | Read the related blog post

Nigerians works on a laptop computers to upload music tracks and video clips to the mobile phones of customers who cannot afford their own computers.

The Post-2015 Development Agenda: What Are the Priorities For Africa?


Haroon Bhorat discusses the post-2015 global development agenda as it relates to Africa, and emphasizes the importance of job creation, good governance and private sector engagement to promote development in the region.

Read the brief (PDF) | Read the related blog post

Martha Mafa, a subsistence farmer, stacks her crop of maize in Chivi, about 378km (235 miles) south-east of the capital Harare

Leap-frogging in African Agriculture: The Case of Genetically Modified Crops


Calestous Juma and Katherine Gordon argue that biotechnology has the potential to exponentially raise Africa’s agricultural production, increase food security, drive economic growth and save African farmers millions of dollars.

Read the brief (PDF) | Read the related blog post

Central African security forces stand with their weapons during a demonstration for peace at a street in Bangui

Meeting the Demand for African-led, Internationally Supported Peace Interventions


Lesley Anne Warner calls for regional and sub-regional organizations in Africa to better prepare their troops for rapid deployment in responding to escalating conflicts, such as those in Mali and the Central African Republic.

Read the brief (PDF) | Read the related blog post

A woman walks in front of her shack as the Lonmin mine is seen in the background in Rustenburg, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko).

Shifts in Financing Sustainable Development: How Should Africa Adapt in 2014?


Amadou Sy recommends policies for how Africa can best harness rapidly growing private capital flows for sustainable development as these funds overtake official development assistance.

Read the brief (PDF) | Read the related blog post

A forest burns in eastern Sierra Leone

Climate Change and Growth in Africa: Challenges and the Way Forward


Temesgen Deressa discusses the devastating effects of climate change in Africa and recommends policies for climate change mitigation and adaption in sub-Saharan Africa, a region heavily dependent on subsistence and rain-fed agriculture for food security and prosperity.

Read the brief (PDF) | Read the related blog post

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma (R) is introduced to the Chinese delegation by China's President Xi Jinping (C) during a working visit to South Africa, in Pretoria.

Harnessing Africa’s Emerging Partnerships


Mwangi Kimenyi examines the role of emerging economies such as India and China in the African development agenda and argues that African countries need to be more proactive in engaging with these new partners.

Read the brief (PDF) | Read the related blog post

Laborers work at a railway station construction site in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa

Three Myths about African Industry


John Page addresses three major misconceptions about the nature of industry in Africa that may be holding the continent back from its industrial transformation.

Read the brief (PDF) | Read the related blog post

SERIES: Foresight Africa | Number 4