Foresight Africa: Top priorities for the continent in 2017

In this year’s Foresight Africa, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative scholars and outside experts explore six overarching themes that provide opportunities for Africa to overcome its obstacles to spur fruitful and inclusive growth. These six interconnected, cross-cutting themes demonstrate the prospects for Africa’s success for its policymakers, businessmen and women, and all its citizens. By examining such closely intertwined issues, we hope to bring a holistic view of the continent, emphasizing that with each challenge there is a solution, though it might be found where we least expect it.

Chapter 1

Mobilizing Financial Resources

Strategies to manage the commodity slump and attract investment

Authors: Amadou Sy

Sub-Saharan Africa—especially its oil-exporting economies—has seen many credit downgrades and lowered growth outlooks in 2016, raising the importance of financing for development even higher. In this chapter, our authors explore several different mechanisms for financing development agendas as well as arguments for increased domestic revenue mobilization and economic diversification.

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Chapter 2

Increasing Employment Opportunities

Navigating Africa’s complex job market

Authors: Haroon Bhorat, Karmen Naidoo, Arabo Ewinyu

Growth will not be possible in Africa without jobs. Given the looming population boom, Africa must adapt not only through job creation, but also through skills development and support in both forgotten and frontier sectors. In the second chapter, our authors discuss not only the job prospects for Africans going into 2017, but new ways to think about job creation.

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Chapter 3

Boosting Transformational Technology

Creating supportive environments for game-changing innovations

Authors: Njuguna Ndung’u

Essential to any modern economy is technology. In many ways, especially when it comes to financial inclusion, Africa is on the forefront. In addition, innovations are creating opportunities unheard of in other parts of the world—though accessibility to many advancements remains somewhat limited. In this chapter, our authors discuss how obstacles to innovation can be overcome in order for Africa to reach its full potential.

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Chapter 4

Bolstering Urbanization Efforts

Africa’s approach to the New Urban Agenda

Authors: Peter Griffiths

For the second year in a row, our contributors cover the increasingly important topic of urbanization. In the follow up from Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda, policymakers agree that smart urban planning is a requirement for successful development. This type of planning is challenging, though, as it requires an awareness of energy needs, transportation possibilities, pollution potential, safety, informal settlements, and affordability, among many other aspects.

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Chapter 5

Confronting Climate Change

Africa’s leadership on an increasingly urgent issue

Authors: Russell Bishop

In no other area of global governance has African shown a united front than in the fight against climate change. Africa is expected to bear the brunt of the destructive effects, and the region’s high poverty rate means that the poor will suffer the most. In this chapter, our authors offer thoughts to both the national and international communities on policies for combating climate change in light of Africa’s unique circumstances.

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Chapter 6

Upholding Good Governance

Democracy, elections, and local institutions under political and social uncertainty

Authors: Mike Jobbins

To tie everything together, of course, are the policymakers, who have the power to create incentives for job creation, enact laws to combat climate change, create appropriate regulatory environments for innovation, and stabilize the macroeconomic environment. However, as our authors argue, without good governance and respect for the rule of law, countries and their citizens must fight an even-more uphill battle towards inclusive growth.

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