Development Trends Reports Completed for USAID Southern Africa

Date: 
2017

In February 2017, the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures completed two reports, prepared for and funded by the USAID Southern Africa regional mission. The first, Development Trends Report for Southern Africa, leverages the International Futures (IFs) platform to explore long-term trends and alternative scenarios across 14 countries in the region, including Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The second, Development Trends Report for South Africa, covers trends at the national and provincial level within South Africa—the region’s richest, most populous and most influential country. USAID plans to use these reports to prepare their next Regional Development Cooperation Strategy for Southern Africa and the Country Development Cooperation Strategy for South Africa.

The regional report—which explores key trends and compares the impact of interventions in governance, health, education, infrastructure and agriculture—showcases the heterogeneity within the region, as challenges faced by one country are at times very different than those of its neighbors. Nevertheless, some shared obstacles remain. Across Southern Africa, for instance, the population living in extreme poverty is forecast to grow in absolute terms by more than 40 million people by 2040, and shifting demographic structures could likely introduce new challenges for the region's governments. Governance remains the linchpin for sustainable development regionwide. A comparison of scenarios suggests that improvements in key areas of governance—particularly those that increase transparency and reduce informality—could lead to the most economic growth in the region, all while making notable strides in poverty alleviation and human development more broadly.

While exploring similar trends in human development, the South Africa report focuses on the country's political and economic issues in more detail. It unpacks key long-term problems related to inequality and the so-called "middle-income trap." Both reports also consider bilateral trade within the region and with key global partners, and highlight South Africa's growing influence on broader regional development over time.

In addition to these two reports, the center, in collaboration with its partners at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa, has also recently produced development trends reports for USAID missions in Uganda and Ethiopia.