Foresight Africa: Join the conversation on the top priorities for Africa in 2018

Today, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) launches its annual Foresight Africa publication. 

In the 2018 edition, AGI scholars and invited experts delve into six overarching themes on challenges and opportunities for Africa to achieve inclusive growth and shared prosperity. Through our exploration, we emphasize the potential for Africa’s leadership and institutions to spearhead this endeavor.

Indeed, 2018 is the year in which Africa could unleash its inner strengths, and our authors unveil strategies for African institutions—particularly the African Union, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank, and regional economic communities—to tackle the continent’s challenges more effectively. Realizing a future of African self-reliance will require concerted support for sustainable development financing to sustain growth—especially through innovative instruments and heightened efforts for domestic resource mobilization.

Over the past two decades or so, several African countries have registered robust economic growth. However, poverty persists, and far too many citizens, particularly young people, are losing hope for a brighter future in Africa. We emphasize that economic growth should not be viewed as an end in itself, but rather as a means to improve livelihoods. To achieve shared prosperity for all, African policymakers will need to adapt development approaches and, where necessary, implement well-targeted policies to improve human development outcomes. Our authors also discuss structural economic transformation in Africa’s unique context and the potential for new sectors such as tourism and agro-industry to play an important role. Similarly, the advent of technology, despite its potential threat to labor-intensive jobs, is offering innovative solutions to development challenges in various sectors. Each obstacle—in areas such as power, banking, education, and farming—throws up calls for tech entrepreneurs to create a solution, and young Africans are responding.

As our authors also emphasize the need for Africa to speak with one voice and pursue more balanced relationships with its external partners, including China and the United States, which will allow Africa to be more assertive on the global stage. 

Each Foresight Africa 2018 chapter includes an issue brief examining a major theme as well as viewpoint contributions from African and international policymakers, and other experts. Featured figures, tables, and other graphics further illustrate the region’s accomplishments and offer signs as to which priorities will matter most for the continent in 2018.

Our goal is to initiate a global conversation on Africa that brings in perspectives from the region, the United States, and elsewhere. We hope you will engage with us by commenting on our Foresight Africa papers, blogs and graphics, and by sharing your thoughts on the top priorities this year. You can use #ForesightAfrica and follow the debate or send your thoughts to @BrookingsGlobal or @BSangafowaCoul to join the conversation on Twitter. You can also leave comments on our related blog posts.

We hope you can join us for our launch event on January 17 at 10:00am (E.S.T.). or tune in to the live webcast.

We will follow up on our papers and post additional contributions from other experts on AGI’s Africa in Focus blog throughout the year.