Foresight Africa: Join the conversation on the top priorities for Africa in 2016

Today, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) launches its sixth annual Foresight Africa publication. This year, our scholars delve deeply into six overarching priorities for the continent in 2016.

The authors examine recent external economic shocks—such as plunging commodity prices and China’s slowdown—how they will affect the continent in 2016, and what African policymakers need to do to both temper those shocks and create opportunities out of them. On the domestic side, our authors and contributors note the shifting make up of African economies and the importance of job creation, likely through industrialization. Our experts offer recommendations for addressing a variety of human development challenges, including gender equality, economic inequality, conflict, education, and climate change, among others. Our authors discuss the growing trend of urbanization in Africa, the impact of megacities, and the importance of smart city planning—with the African urban resident as the focal point. We take a look at growing trends in African governance: how governance relates to economic growth, how the new, regional governance frameworks are developing, and how the continent is performing on good governance indicators. Finally, in light of the rapidly evolving trade environment—such as the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, our authors discuss how Africa might avoid looming trade disadvantages, particularly through better utilization of the newly reauthorized African Growth and Opportunity Act and continued regional integration.

You might notice that this year’s layout is different than in years past. For 2016, the Africa Growth Initiative team aimed to create a publication with a more multifaceted look at six broad topics affecting the continent in order to reflect the nuances of those challenges and opportunities. Each Foresight Africa 2016 chapter not only includes an issue brief examining the topic, but viewpoint contributions from African and international policymakers and shakers with solid experience on the ground. We also hope the figures, tables, and other graphics further illustrate how much Africa as a whole has accomplished as well as indicate priorities for the continent in 2016.

As with every Foresight Africa, our goal is to use the publication as a primer for engaging in a global conversation on Africa that brings in perspectives from the region, the United States, and elsewhere. We hope you will engage with us in this conversation by commenting on our Foresight Africa papers, blogs and graphics, and by telling us what you think are the top priorities for Africa in 2016. You can use #ForesightAfrica and follow the debate or send your thoughts to @BrookingsGlobal or @ASYBrookings to join the conversation on Twitter. You can also leave us a comment on our related blog posts or on our Facebook page.

We will be following up on our papers and post additional contributions from other experts on the Africa in Focus blog, so we invite you to continue the dialogue throughout 2016.