Are these futures equally plausible? Where would the paths leading to them diverge? And what do they tell us about the forces already at work in the region?
Some answers to these tantalising questions may be found in this book. It records the results of a major project in which a team of analysts assembled by the Johannesburg-based Institute for Global Dialogue and the South Africa office of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung used the scenario-building technique to clarify the choices facing the region’s decision-makers.
In a complex exercise stretching over several years, the igd/fes team, assisted by regional reference groups, evolved five scenarios in which different driving forces propel the region to very different futures.
They have been verbally presented to audiences throughout the region; however, the complete scenarios, as well as all their supporting material, appear for the first time in this volume.
While, as noted in an explanatory introduction, scenarios are fascinating in themselves, their ultimate purpose is not to predict the future, but to provide a clearer picture of the forces currently at work in the area under review.
It is therefore hoped that this book will help inhabitants of the region, from policy-makers to ordinary citizens, understand that its future is not predetermined, and that the choices they make now will lead to very different outcomes – and give them an idea of what the consequences of some of those choices might be.
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