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Mohamed Saliem Fakir

Futurist Profile


Mohamed Saliem Fakir

Senior Manager

Head of Living Planet Unit: WWF-SA

Master’s Environmental Science

Mr Fakir answered a few questions about his perspective and on being a futures thinker.


You identify yourself as an African futures thinker or practitioner. How would you describe to the woman or man on the street what it is that you do in this regard?

I like thinking about the future and how we can shape the present to adapt to the unexpected.

How many years have you worked as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Twenty years

In which countries or places have you had working experience as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Southern African region

In what languages have you undertaken futures / foresight related work or research?


What is it that motivates you to work or participate in the foresight / future studies / related field

It’s multidisciplinary and I find myself well suited for that.

What goal/s would you most like to reach with your work as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

To learn from developed economies and do things different in Africa.

Who or what most influenced your thinking as a futures thinker / practitioner, and how?

Many people. I am eclectic in terms of who I can learn from. I try to avoid being an “ism”. If, from people you are oppose to you can learn from them.

What is your main disciplinary background? (i.e. your primary training / qualification)

Molecular Biology and of late it is economics and finance.

How do other people describe you and how do you describe yourself?

Others describe me as… Energetic

I describe myself as… Love to know about the world always



What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

"It is the nature of governance that determines whether people deploy their talents and energy in pursuit of innovation, production and job creation, or in rent seeking and lobbying for political protection." - Kemal Devis

How would you describe the state of African futures thinking right now?

It’s a lot of work and deployment in long-term planning and thinking at all levels.

What is, in your opinion, the main barrier to uptake of futures knowledge by African institutions and organisations?

I don’t think the barrier is doing the work it is whether it is aligned to the right political perspective and economic planning objectives that it is taken seriously by those who matter.

If you were to give advice to someone who wants a career in African foresight / future studies, what would you say to him or her?

Don’t limit your knowledge to a college education. Being autodidactic is a key to doing good futures work and thinking. Never be afraid to trample on the ground of other people’s fields if you feel you can match them with good and even better ideas.

What are your recommended readings for every African futures thinker / practitioner?

Start from philosophy, critical theory, and then heterodox economics. Conventional economics needs radical rethinking.

What are your recommendations for other favourite futures resources: websites, newsfeeds, mailing lists, associations, etc.?


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