Studying Development Futures
Painting a portrait of how an entire continent could change two decades into the future is necessarily a speculative exercise. The approach that this book takes in structuring reflection about the future of Africa is informed by the field of future studies and by scenario analysis methods in particular. The selection of this orientation should not be regarded as a critique of the utility of other approaches in examining questions relevant for the future of development policy. Social scientific research, that presents historical narratives or assesses the relative importance of key variables of interest through statistical analysis can draw attention to causes of change and highlight constellations of factors that may lead to future outcomes that tend to resemble those of the past. Common approaches to exploring the future differ from dominant social scientific methods for making sense of the past and present because of their emphasis in outlining the possibility of multiple distinct outcomes and their goal of accounting for a broad range of uncertainties rather than presenting a high level of certainty in their analyses. This chapter provides an introduction to scenario analysis methods and outlines how insights from the scenario tradition guide the analyses presented in the subsequent chapters in this volume.
KeywordsInternational Development Scenario Analysis Scenario Development European Environmental Agency African Development
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