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African Futurist Jakkie Cilliers Looks Beyond Today’s COVID-19 Crisis

“African economies are staring at an abyss,” said Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed earlier this week in a desperate appeal to the international community for aid and debt relief to offset the ruinous effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting African countries where even under normal circumstances often struggle to provide basic services. The emergence of this latest pandemic on the continent comes as African governments were already struggling with the effects of climate changelocusts and a variety of other infectious diseases ranging from Lassa fever to malaria

Although the situation today looks grim, the head of the Africa Futures and Innovations program at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, Jakkie Cilliers, contends that, COVID-19 aside, a number of key global trends are actually lining up in Africa’s favor.

In his new book, Africa First!: Igniting a Growth Revolution, Jakkie provides a detailed forecast for the next twenty years on how trends in manufacturing, climate change and technology will shape the continent. It’s important to note, though, that his book is not one of those feel good “Africa Rising” narratives that’s been so popular over the past 5-10 years. Jakkie doesn’t have any simple answers to what will be at times a long, difficult journey for a rapidly growing continent.

He joins Eric & Cobus to discuss what he sees ahead for Africa and whether the burgeoning COVID-19 crisis challenges any of the assumptions that underlie his forecast.

Show Notes:

About Jakkie Cilliers:

Jakkie Cilliers is the former Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies. He currently serves as Chairman of the ISS Board of Trustees and head of the African Futures and Innovation Programme in the Pretoria office of the Institute. He has a B. Mil (B.A.) from the University of Stellenbosch, an Hons. B.A., M.A. (cum laude) and DLitt et Phil from the University of South Africa (UNISA). Awards include the Bronze Medal from the South African Society for the Advancement of Science and the H Bradlow Research Bursary. Dr. Cilliers co-founded the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in 1990, and played an important role in the transformation of the South African armed forces, and the institution of civilian control over the military in the period 1990 to 1996. Jakkie has presented numerous papers at conferences and seminars and published a number of books on various matters relating to peace and security in Africa.

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