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Sub-Saharan Africa's future is not a given

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PurposeGiven current dystopian perspectives on Africa's future, the purpose of this paper is to emphasise the need for recreative futures studies when designing development programmes for Sub-Saharan Africa. Design/methodology/approachThe paper draws on social systems thinking, causal layered analysis and integral futures, and contrasts the interpretative and transformative approaches to futures research. FindingsSub-Saharan Africa reached a crossroad in its development. There are powerful forces that are pushing it back towards a low-level equilibrium trap ‐ making it easy to imagine a dystopian future as the most plausible one for the region. However, there are also a number of hopeful signs that suggest that committed interventions could turn the tide towards its sustainable development. Such interventions will have to dig deep into the collective consciousness of people and require systemic, multi-faceted programmes for success. Originality/valueThis paper should be of interest to development planners who are searching for programme options outside of what is considered normal for development planning.
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Keywords: Africa; Complexity theory; Human resource development; Thinking

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-05-31

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