Welcome to Foresight For Development


Restoration at Timbuktu library, MaliBibliozone:

In August's version of Bibliozone we focus on the African woman foresight.


FFD blogBlog:

Read our blog. FFD-blog gives you a peek behind the scenes of double eff dee dot org.


Every month we profile a futurist from the continent. Read this month's futurist's profile.

Search our librarySearch:

Looking for something specific to read? Search our library.

Searchlight Southern AfricaNewsletter:

Searchlight Southern Africa, a horizon scanning project, produces a monthly newsletter. Read this month's edition of Searchlight.

20:20 Vision:

In 20:20 vision, we juxtapose events from twenty years ago with predictions and forecasts for twenty years hence.


In Talk-@-ive, a selection of quotes from and about Africa and its future.


Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 14:43

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Environment 20:20 vision

Looking forward, looking back. In 20:20 vision we look forward to 2031 while also reminding ourselves about events from 1991.
Back to 1991.

Water hyacinth


Water hyacinth entered Lake Victoria in 1991, and grew rapidly over the period 1992-8. The plant doubles its biomass every 15 days. Hyacinth, allegedly carried into the lake by the Kagera River from Rwanda, choked significant parts of the freshwater mass, with considerable impact on the life living in and around this important water source.

[Sources: Lake Victoria chokes under the water hyacinth. Fighting water hyacinth in West Africa.]


Malawi LakeWet.

Flash floods killed more than 500 people in March 1991, displaced thousands, destroyed crops and livestock as well as buildings in Malawi.

[Source: Relief Web report on Malawi floods.]



In 1991, Zimbabwe was in the grip of one of the worst droughts - described by some as the drought of the century - Drought intensified, and continued into Zimbabwe and other states for 1992.

[Sources: Drought Mitigation Centre, USA. ESS's article on the 1991 Zimbabwe Drought.]



The fight back against poaching achieved some success in 1991, when zero elephants were reportedly poached that year in Tsavo National Park, Kenya. Unfortunately, this success did not last.

[source: Bio One Journals.]


Cites logoIvory.

In 1991, Uganda signs the Cites treaty on trade in endangered species. Significantly, one particular animal product - ivory - has continued to pass through Entebbe airport. Reports suggest that eight elephants have been poached in Uganda's parks in the first two months of 2011.

[Sources: An article from The Observer on Uganda, Kenya, poaching and the ivory trade. A report on illegal ivory trade and China's role in it.]



On 28 May 1991, ABT Summer, an oil tanker, exploded 900 miles off Angola's coast. 1,905,800 barrels spilled into the ocean.

[Source: The top ten worst oil spills.]


Forward to 2031.


Seven countries in the Sub-Saharan African region will experience precipitation shocks in 2031. The risk of civil conflict, as a result of these changing climatic conditions, will increase.

[Source: Trends and triggers: Climate change and civil conflict in Africa.]


Food AidAid.

Two scenarios for aid in 2031 are offered by Madeleine Bunting. One is positive; the other suggests aid fatigue will have set in by the time 2031 rolls around.

[Source: What will aid look like in 2031?]



Projections on infectious diseases suggest that by 2031, the fight against malaria will have achieved some success, with just over US$2 billion being spent on preventing new infections for that year.

[Source: Roll Back Malaria.]


South African childrenGoing down.

South Africa's age dependency ratio will drop by 2031 to 34.1. In 2001, the age dependency ratio was 57.5 per dependent people aged 0-14 years and 65+ years. Simply stated, age dependency is a measure of the dependency of individuals, who wouldn't typically be working, on those who do work. The projected decline in ADR is positive.

[Source: South Africa's youth bulge.]


Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 14:43

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July 20:20 vision

Looking back to 1991, looking forward to 2031 - this is the July edition of 20:20 vision.

Nineteen ninety one

Leprosy, 1991

  • A total of 41,989 new cases of leprosy were reported to the World Health Organisation in 1991.
  • Ten years later, in 2001, the total number of new cases of leprosy reported was 39,612.

Source: AIFOl.

Head count, 1991

  • Official 1991 census data for Nigeria suggested 5,685,785 people lived in Lagos.
  • The total population of Nigeria for 1991 was reportedly 88,514,505.

Source: Nigerian muse.

FDI, 1991

  • Between 1987 and 1991, average Foreign Direct Investment inflows into selected African countries:
    • Namibia: US$29,6 million.
    • Ghana: US$11,9 million.
    • Botswana: US$56,7 million.
    • Mozambique: US$9,2 million.
    • Average for Africa: US$60,1 million.
    • Average for all developing countries: US$212,3 million.

Source: UNCTAD.

Oil production, 1991

  • Oil production (per million barrels) in selected African countries for 1991:
    • Nigeria: 690.945 /mb.
    • Angola: 181.388 /mb.
    • Algeria: 456.350 /mb.
    • Libya: 548.960 /mb.
    • Morocco: 0.328 /mb.
    • Cameroon: 55.115 /mb.

Source: US Department of Energy.

Education, 1991

  • Primary school enrollment in Angola in 1991: 75.6%.
  • Primary school enrollment in Sierra Leone in 1991: 47.7%.
  • Primary school enrollment in Burkina Faso in 1991: 33.8%.

Source: World Bank.

Twenty thirty one

HIV-Aids, 2031

June 5, 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the announcement of the discovery of Aids.

In July 1981 Dr Curran of the Centre for Disease Control Task Team on Kaposi's Sarcoma and

Opportunistic Infections described to the world the presence of a new disease for which very little information about transmission was available. By December 1981, the first case of Aids was documented in the United Kingdom.

In 2031, the world will mark 50 years since the first reports of Aids were documented. Aids2031 is a consortium of partners working to change the face of the pandemic by 2031. Aids2031 has nine working groups, including a working group dedicated to science and technology.

Aids2031 has produced 'Aids: Taking a long-term view'. It can be purchased from FT Press. Click here for more information.

Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 14:43

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August 20:20 vision

Looking back to 1991, looking forward to 2031

Nineteen ninety one

WWW born, 1991

  • Tim Berners-Lee announces the World Wide Web project and software on the alt.hypertext newsgroup.

Beginning of the End, 1991

  • Apartheid was dismantled in a series of negotiations from 1990 to 1993, culminating in elections in 1994, making way for democratic rule


Final voyage, 1991

  • The Cruise Liner MTS Oceanos sinks off the coast of South Africa and all 571 passengers on board are safely evacuated.


Nobel Prize, 1991

  • Nadine Gordimer a South African writer and political activist was awarded the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Inventions, 1991

  • 1991- The digital answering machine invented.


Twenty thirty one

Women's Futures, 2031

According to Sandra Burmeister, chief executive officer of the Landelahni Recruitment Group, “it will take until 2031 for women to make up 50% of board composition, and until 2051 for executive management to reach parity with men.”

Russian scientists expect to meet aliens by 2031

"The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms... Life exists on other planets and we will find it within 20 years," Andrei Finkelstein, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Applied Astronomy Institute, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 14:43

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