Oct
06

The Future of Africa

Looking for an introduction to the issues facing Africa today and into the future? Jakkie Cilliers' Open Access book "The Future of Africa: Challenges and Opportunities" (2021) is a good option, and is available for download here. The author is a leader in strategic studies focusing on Africa, founding an independent institute (Institute for Security Studies) in 1990. This book draws on decades of research, much of which is brought together in this book. The book is thematic in structure, with chapters on demographics, health, agriculture, education, poverty, inequality and growth, future of work, innovation, trade and growth, peace, governance, aid, remittances and FDI, and climate change. In each area, Cilliers takes a future orientation, based on the assumption that "Long-term trends are affected by deep drivers that are slow-moving but powerful, like demographics, education or commodity super cycles, which also unfold over decades" (p. 19). The book went to press when the global pandemic was in its early days and the Ukraine conflict yet to start, both of which give examples of the impact that shorter term events can have on the long term (no surprise to the author, I am sure, as these types of shocks are not new). It is hard to cover a continent in a book, and one might argue that such a task will almost necessarily result in exclusions and emphases of some countries at the expense of others (and potential biases in making those selections). Nonetheless, for students this is a good reference textbook. Chapters also have "further reading" suggestions, on the respective topics, which makes this additionally useful for students. 

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