2017 holds promise for Africa. Despite the troubles of 2016—political turmoil in the Gambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, continuing violence in South Sudan and Nigeria, drought in southern Africa, low commodity prices, and lowered growth outlooks—I enter 2017 with a positive attitude. So many of these serious challenges are those which Africa has weathered before and come out stronger for it. Peaceful transitions, such as in Ghana, provide examples of good governance and respect for the rule of law. Regional actors are creating African solutions to African problems in both the security and infrastructure realms, among others. Commodity-reliant countries are looking to diversify while the others are taking advantage of low oil prices. In this year’s Foresight Africa, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative scholars and outside experts explore six overarching themes that provide opportunities for Africa to overcome its obstacles to spur fruitful and inclusive growth. These six interconnected, crossing-cutting themes demonstrate the prospects for Africa’s success for its policymakers, businessmen and women, and all its citizens. By examining such closely intertwined issues, we hope to bring a holistic view of the continent, emphasizing that with each challenge there is a solution, though it might not be found where we expect it to be. Sub-Saharan Africa—especially its oil-exporting economies—has seen many credit downgrades and lowered growth outlooks in 2016, raising the importance of financing for development even higher. In Chapter 1, our authors explore several different mechanisms for financing development agendas as well as arguments for increased domestic revenue mobilization and economic diversification.
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