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UNESCO Future Forum Africa #2

Decolonizing African Futures:
Exploring and Realigning Alternative Systems

6 December 2013
UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France

This Future Forum carried on the discussion initiated at the previous Future Forum, held in Paris on March 11, 2013 on “Imagining Africa’s Future: Beyond Models of Catch-up and Convergence”. This Future Forum also contributed to the All Africa Futures Forum held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in March 2014.

Picking up the thread of the questions posed at the UNESCO Future Forum Africa #1 regarding the adequacy of existing frameworks used to think about the future of development, this second edition drilled deeper into the ways that planning and strategic thinking are essentially ways of exploring and creating futures. The aim was to move beyond extrapolations that colonize the future by using today’s models to imagine tomorrow’s world. Too often vision(s) of Africa’s future have been limited, reduced to a set of familiar options for organizing human development and well-being. Shaking off these constraints to thinking about the future calls for conscious efforts that assess the relevance and efficacy of existing and new futures literacy tools, ways to build the capacity to explore and construct the transformative futures that will help identify current choices consistent with human values and aspirations. Facilitating transformation and the capacities necessary to make it happen in a sustainable way, demand a greater appreciation of the systemic nature of change.

As with previous Forums, UNESCO Foresight tries to encourage the use of recent advances in methods for thinking about the future. In large part this is intended to facilitate platforms for asking new questions and to open up the anticipatory assumptions that typically limit the way the future is envisioned or constructed. The Forum also intended to demonstrate that there are important changes taking place in the way the future is conceptualized. Both outcomes contributed to the formulation of the issues discussed at the All Africa Futures Forum as it questioned the nature and expectations related to the future of development planning in Africa.


  • Alioune Sall (Senegal): Executive Director, African Futures Institute, Pretoria RSA
  • Geci Karuri-Sebina (Kenya): Executive Manager South African Cities Network, Johannesburg, RSA
  • Alinah Segobye (Botswana): Deputy Executive Director, South Africa, Human Sciences Research Council, RSA

Video on demand of the Forum


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