Think Tank Inception Conference

Think Tank Inception Conference


This conference was aimed at sharing expertise and insights into Africa’s long term development future


The African Futures and Innovation program (AFI) in collaboration with the AUDA-NEPAD “Policy Bridge Think Tank,” co-hosted a ground-breaking conference on “African Futures” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, marking the start of the year’s events.

The aim was to share expertise and insights into Africa’s long term development future to delegates which included representatives of Regional  Economic Communities, the diplomatic community, the African Union and experts from academia and policy think tanks. In particular, the conference explored the role that African think tanks can play in helping to shape policy, based on rigorous evidence-based research. This includes the foresight and forecasting work that the AFI team specialises via the AFI platform.

To set the scene, an eight-part seminar series leading up to the conference, provided clear insight into various sectors including the future role of Manufacturing in Africa, Education, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA), Agriculture and the impact of leapfrogging on large scale infrastructure.

Panel discussions, workshops and training led by the AFI team on the African futures website and its forecasting capabilities, sought to cement the link between data and policy.

The key objective of the conference was to support a structured mobilisation of African think tanks towards delivering the successful implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. Also to demonstrate the application of African knowledge creation with African decision making.

Participants used the conference as a call to action to ensure more effort is made to connect African think tanks with national governments, regional bodies such as ECOWAS and continental bodies such as the African Union.

As an inaugural conference, it set the scene for greater collaboration, highlighted the need for a more structured approach for working together to enable think tanks to contribute to the regional and continental bodies’ agendas.


Development partners

The ISS is grateful for support from the members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the European Union, the Open Society Foundations and the governments of Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.