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A Conceptual Model of Skills Formation for Knowledge-based Economy in Africa
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A Conceptual Model of Skills Formation for Knowledge-based Economy in Africa

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The African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE) was developed in association with the Second African Regional Preparatory Conference for the World Summit on the Information Society ...

The African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE) was developed in association with the Second African Regional Preparatory Conference for the World Summit on the Information Society held in Accra, Ghana in February 2005. The political will for knowledge–based economic development has been reinforced consistently since 2005 by subsequent communiqués and regional meetings that have convened key stakeholders (Union 2006; Union 2010). The ARAPKE presents a continent wide, coordinated strategy to transition towards knowledge-based economic development. ARAPKE highlights the need for economic integration into the global economy which is increasingly dominated by knowledge-based industries. The African vision of knowledge-based economic development calls for collective effort to achieve the following objectives:
• To use information to accelerate development, induce good governance, and foster stability;
• To provide wellbeing and increase employment, reduce poverty, and empower underprivileged groups;
• To enhance the natural capital and human capacity of the region and minimize internal inequalities;
• To further benefit from information by fully becoming part of the global information society (Union 2005).

Similar to other regions of the world, the African vision for knowledge-based economic development is at the nexus of economic, political, and social objectives related to national competitiveness and economic policies that support innovation, technology development, entrepreneurship, workforce skills development, adoption of high performance organizational structures, and ICT infrastructure development (Planning 2010). Rischard (2009) observes several common development objectives, job creation, economic integration, economic diversification, environmental sustainability, and social development, which have underpinned successful transitions to knowledge-based economies elsewhere that are also reflected in the ARAPKE. As is articulated in the African vision, a vital precursor to knowledge-based development is human capital development that is conducive towards developing a society characterized by skilled, flexible, and innovative individuals nurtured through quality education, employment, and broadly accessible life-long learning opportunities (Planning 2010). In the 1960s, Becker (1994) underscored the critical link between human capital and economic growth when he observed “Since human capital is embodied knowledge and skills, and economic development depends on advances in technological and scientific knowledge, development presumably depends on the accumulation of human capital.” More recently, Kuruvilla and Ranganathan (2008) show that, given sufficient skills levels, a development strategy based on the export of low-cost and high-end knowledge-based services is a viable alternative to the more traditional low-cost export-oriented manufacturing strategies for developing countries. Thus, the movement of many developing countries towards knowledge-based economic development inevitably requires the transition to more effective skills formation systems.
Lack of effectiveness of skills formation systems to produce high-level skills serves as a constraint to knowledge-based economic development. Adaptability and congruence of skills formation systems and constituent actors in response to factors such as economic development, skill demands of employers, technological progress and industrial strengthening, and macroeconomic trends is critical to knowledge-based development (Schwalje 2011). However, many countries in Africa are caught in a ‘low-skills equilibrium’ which is characterized by “a self-reinforcing network of societal and state institutions which interact to stifle the demand for improvements in skill levels (Finegold and Soskice 1988).” The African countries that have escaped the low skills equilibrium and formed higher skills based economies now face a poor match be

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A Conceptual Model of Skills Formation for Knowledge-based Economy in Africa Presentation Transcript

  • 1. A Conceptual Model of Skills Formation for Knowledge-based Development in Africa 6 th International Conference on ICT for Development, Education, and Training Dar es Salaam, Tanzania May 25 – 27, 2011 Wes Schwalje, Independent International Development and Policy Strategist PhD Candidate, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • 2. Agenda Situational Analysis Role of Government Role of E&T Systems Role of Businesses Overview
      • African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy
      • The need for effective skills formation for knowledge-based development
      • A conceptual framework for knowledge-based development
      • The role of governments in skills formation
      • Assessment of African government performance
      • The role of E&T systems in skills formation
      • Assessment of African E&T system performance
      • The role of the business community in skills formation
      • Assessment of the involvement of African businesses
    1 2 3 4 5 Role of Individuals
      • The role of individuals in skills formation
      • Assessment of individual investments in skills formation
    Key Questions of This Session What are the existing theories? Agree with them? What new thinking is emerging? What are the requirements of 21 st century labor markets? Why are skills formation systems not producing what is required by labor markets?
  • 3. The African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy articulates the vision for knowledge-based economic development in Africa To enhance the natural capital and human capacity of the region and minimize internal inequalities To use information to accelerate development, induce good governance, and foster stability African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy To provide wellbeing and increase employment, reduce poverty, and empower underprivileged groups To further benefit from information by fully becoming part of the global information society 1 2 3 4 Source: African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy: A Framework for Action. Addis Ababa, African Union The plan states 4 objectives …
  • 4. Effective skills formation systems are critical to knowledge-based economic development … Sources: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Economy and Planning; Kuruvilla and Ranganathan (2008); Schwalje (2011) Situational Analysis
      • At the nexus of economic, political, and social objectives: job creation, economic integration, diversification, sustainability, and social development
      • Human capital development is conducive towards a society characterized by skilled, flexible, and innovative individuals
      • Given sufficient skills levels, development strategies based on the export of low-cost and high-end knowledge-based services is a viable alternative to low-cost export-oriented manufacturing
      • Lack of effectiveness of skills formation to produce high-level skills serves as a constraint to knowledge-based development
      • Many countries in Africa are caught in a “low-skills equilibrium” or face a poor match between human capital and the skills demanded by employers
    Knowledge- based economic development requires the transition to more effective skills formation systems
  • 5. However, there is currently no accepted general framework to analyze national skills development systems which has resulted in countries adopting reactive approaches Sources: Kuruvilla, Erickson et al. (2001); Ashton, Sung et al. (2000); Hall and Lansbury (2006); Hoppers (2007); Wood and Ridao-Cano (1996); Brown, Green et al. (2003)
    • Fragmented and does not cut across disciplines
    • Conceptual frameworks seldom consider the role of the government and economy
    • Does not present a comprehensive strategy to develop workforce skills as a whole
    • Static accounts with no link between key stakeholders and specific economic outcomes
    • Takes a neo-classical view of the role of government based on human capital theory in which human capital formation is pareto optimal
    • Market failures are the source of persistent skills development problems
    • Must synthesize the literature
    • Present an integrated, systemic view guided by government intervention
    • Must include all forms of skills formation: pre-employment, continuing, institution-based or work-based, formal or informal
    • Emphasize the relationship between governments, educational systems, labor markets, and firms to generate demand for skilled labor
    • View human capital as a political and economic goal in which government intervention is warranted
    • Align skills development with broader economic development, business, and social measures
    Previous Thinking on Skills Formation Emerging Thinking on Skills Formation for Knowledge-based Economic Development
  • 6. The changing demands of knowledge-based economic development create a need for interdependence and collaborative networks for effective skills formation Education and Training System Business Community Individuals Government National Skills Formation System for Knowledge-based Development
    • Ensuring Relevancy and Employability
    • Quality Assurance
    • Expanding Access
    • Workforce Investment
    • Workforce Development
    • Investment Optimization
    • Lifelong-learning
    • Coordination
    • Aligning
    • Macroeconomic Policy
    • With Skills
    • Formation
    • Broad-based,
    • Inclusive Skills Formation
    Link economic development with E&T system Qualitative and quantitative supply-demand match Facilitate regular, on-the-job training and participation in skills formation Address policy, informational, or financial sources of underinvestment Critical Government Coordination Points WORK IN PROCESS
  • 7. Agenda Situational Analysis Role of Government Role of E&T Systems Role of Businesses Overview
      • The role of governments in skills formation
      • Assessment of African government performance
    1 2 3 4 5 Role of Individuals
  • 8. Key Government Roles in the Skills Formation System
      • An institutional setting similar to a complex adaptive system
      • Effective institutions to prevent market failure, underinvestment in skills, provide adequate regulation, and coordinate stakeholders
      • Governance mechanisms for policy guidelines, monitoring the workforce supply and requirements, channeling funds, and ensuring coordination
      • Education and training systems must coevolve with industry development
      • Proactively shaping the technological and industry structure creates a need for skills not able to be predicted by free market mechanisms
      • Attracting FDI is premised upon a sufficient level of education and skills
      • Support those entering the formal sector as well as individuals who are self-employed, working in informal sectors, or unemployed
      • Entrepreneurship creates jobs and increases demand for employable skills
      • Active labor market policies increase skills and can reduce unemployment
      • The informal sector requires a wider set of skills (basic literacy and numeracy, social and political awareness, and life skills) alongside access to credit, infrastructure, and policy support for utilization of acquired skills
    Governments provide coordination, policy alignment, and broad-based access to skills formation to enable knowledge-based development Sources: Quintini, Martin et al. (2007); Bennell (1999); Liimatainen (2002)
  • 9. Large informal labor markets Enrollment is massive compared to growth in paid employment Yet some countries are keeping pace Formal sector employment is a small % of the labor force; Enrollment (supply of skills) far outpaces growth in paid employment (demand for skills) in the majority of countries Sources: ILO, UNESCO, CIA World fact book Assumptions: Straight line growth of paid employment at historical CAGR for countries with data for 4 or more years; Last available data was used when data was insufficient Evidence of role of education in the informal sector lacking Country ∆ Employment 2000 - 2010 Paid employment as % of Workforce Indicative ∆ in Enrollments ∆ in Enrollments / ∆ in Paid Employment Angola 50,835 6.03% NA NA Benin 18,198 2.34% 691,001 (1999 to 2005) 38 Botswana 11,418 50.87% NA NA Burkina Faso 111,449 5.05% 30,559 (1999 to 2003) 0.27 Burundi 13,315 1.60% 1,004,343 (2003 to 2009) 75 Cameroon NA 4.87% 2,776,488 (1999 to 2009) NA Central African Rep. 763 0.80% 34,461 (2008 to 2009) 45 Chad 7,039 0.52% 1,042,075 (2000 to 2009) 148 Congo NA 4.54% 118,743 (2000 to 2003) NA Côte d'Ivoire NA 10.08% 75,337 (2006 to 2007) NA Djibouti NA 0.51% 22,684 (2003 to 2007) NA Egypt 3,519,963 52.24% NA NA Eritrea NA 2.99% 173,552 (1999 to 2009) NA Mozambique NA 2.04% 1,861,222 (1999 to 2005) NA Niger 6,393 0.75% 1,054,121 (2003 to 2010) 165 Nigeria NA 0.61% 7,575,858 (1999 to 2005) NA Senegal 114,060 5.62% 994,206 (1999 to 2008) 9 Seychelles 8,544 83.70% NA NA Sierra Leone NA 6.62% NA NA South Africa 4,099,343 51.03% 228,994 (2000 to 2009) 0.06 Sudan NA 2.05% 2,630,587 (2001 to 2009) NA Swaziland 27,191 26.06% 36,040 (2002 to 2006) 1 Tanzania NA 5.30% 3,680,050 (1999 to 2005) NA ROUGH ESTIMATE
  • 10. Skills Formation for Knowledge-based Development Assessment Success Factor Performance in Advancing KBE Evidence Coordination Enrollment far outpaces growth in paid employment indicating access initiatives are proceeding faster than job creation Policy Alignment Evidence that some countries are effectively coordinating policy. However, skills formation cannot be driven only by a select minority group in the labor force that is formally employed Broad-based, Inclusive Skills Formation There appears to be no clear direction to integrate those in the informal sector into the KBE despite notable E&T access gains Relevancy and Employability Quality Assurance Access Workforce Investment Workforce Development Investment Optimization Lifelong-learning High Low Adequate
  • 11. Agenda Situational Analysis Role of Government Role of E&T Systems Role of Businesses Overview
      • The role of E&T systems in skills formation
      • Assessment of African E&T system performance
    1 2 3 4 5 Role of Individuals
  • 12. Key E&T System Roles in the Skills Formation System
      • E&T systems are struggling in their response to global macroeconomic forces
      • Demographic trends have stressed E&T systems necessitating job creation
      • Macro growth studies suggest the impact of education varies by development
      • Increased access is accompanied by the need for vocational programs
      • Mechanisms that link educational systems to specific labor market outcomes avoid supply-demand informational gaps regarding skills trends and ensure skill alignment with the needs of employers
      • Labor force quality is positively related to school quality
      • Poor quality schools can slow economic and social development by reducing wage premia to skilling
      • Adoption of performance-oriented, rather than expansion focused, approaches to improving quality, increasing performance, and assuring student marketability
      • Need to develop skills amongst those disadvantaged by inadequate investment
      • E&T expansion will further stress public budgets and may require intervention in capital markets to increase the affordability of education
      • Failure can lead to long-term, negative externalities on health, earnings, and education that impose large , long-term costs on individuals and societies
    Knowledge-based development requires effective E&T systems to produce human capital in the quantity and quality required by the labor market Sources: Otani and Villanueva (1990); Iyigun and Owen (1996); Gemmell (1996); Porter, Sachs et al. (2002); Hanushek and Kim (2000); Pritchett (2001); Banerji, Cunningham et al. (2010); Ziderman (2003); Barakat, Holler et al. (2010)
  • 13. Growth studies have identified several reasons for cross-country differences in the impact of education on economic development Reason Explanation Evidence
    • Social and private rates of
    • return to education diverge due
    • to economic distortion
    • Rent seeking and unproductive activities are privately remunerative but socially inefficient and reduce overall growth
    • In many countries public sector hiring is based on guarantee rather than need resulting in surplus public sector labor
    • If returns to ability in rent seeking government positions are high, rent seeking roles attract educated labor away from productive sectors
      • Human capital is not allocated effectively for growth
    • Growth in demand for educated labor varies across countries
    • Countries with similar individual returns to education and increases in the supply of educated labor might experience varying marginal returns to education
    • Returns to education are higher due to disequilibrium created by sectorial shifts requiring higher skill intensity
    • Expansion of skilled labor that outpaces employment decreases education returns
    • Returns to education are higher where technological progress is rapid
    • Government policy conducive to technological progress and skill intensive development increases returns to education
      • Low demand for educated labor
    • Internationally comparable exams show significant variation in the quality of schools
    • In some countries, schooling is effective in skills formation while in others it is less effective
    • Some studies show little or no wage premia from additional schooling reflecting poor quality education
    • Signaling models in which high ability individuals stay in school might explain countries where there is a private return but no social return to education
    • Education may lead to social returns not captured by growth models
      • Low quality education not creating skills required by employers
    1 2 3 Sources: Schultz (1975); Gelb, Knight et al. (1991); Murphy, Shleifer et al. (1991); Bennell (1996); Pritchett (2001); Rosenzweig (2010) Informal labor markets Low skill equilibria
  • 14. Sources: World Bank Enterprise Survey The prevalence of internal skills gaps and the constraints placed on firm operations and growth suggest E&T systems are not creating the general skills demanded by employers % of total firms which have skills gaps % of firms which indicated skills gaps are the most important obstacle to the operation and growth of their firms
  • 15. High Skills Equilibrium Many countries are in a low skills equilibrium, a few have reached intermediate stages of knowledge-based development but are constrained by skills levels Low Skills Equilibrium Intermediate Skills Equilibrium Sources: World Bank Knowledge Economy Index, World Bank Enterprise Survey Low Medium High Employer Demand for higher, knowledge-intensive skills (as proxied by the World Bank Knowledge Economy Index Ranking) Low Medium High % of firms with sufficient internal skills levels (1- % of firms reporting major or very severe skills gaps)
    • Strong demand for high level skills
    • Skills formulation institutions and the enabling environment work in tandem
    • Knowledge-based economies with lower levels of skills gaps
    • Employers face few skill gaps in a predominantly low skilled workforce
    • Little incentive to participate in education and training and raise qualification levels and aspirations
    • Neither specialized in knowledge-based industries or lower skilled, goods or commodities
    • Low skills formation serves as a constraint to entry into higher value, knowledge-based industries
  • 16. The Grade 5 survival rate proxies educational quality and access; Several countries have quality and access rates exceeding Brazil and India Brazil (76%) India (66%) Sources: UNESCO
  • 17. Skills Formation for Knowledge-based Development Assessment Success Factor Performance in Advancing KBE Evidence Coordination Enrollment far outpaces growth in paid employment indicating access initiatives are proceeding faster than job creation Policy Alignment Evidence that some countries are effectively coordinating policy. However, skills formation cannot be driven only by a select minority group in the labor force that is formally employed Broad-based, Inclusive Skills Formation There appears to be no clear direction to integrate those in the informal sector into the KBE despite notable E&T access gains Relevancy and Employability For countries in low skill equilibria, skills needs are being met. However, countries at intermediate stages require stronger skills Quality Assurance There is anecdotal and empirical evidence of quality issues. Yet, compared to other developing countries there is progress Access Rather incomplete enrollment statistics and Grade 5 survival rates reflect adequate levels of access Workforce Investment Workforce Development Investment Optimization Lifelong-learning High Low Adequate
  • 18. Agenda Situational Analysis Role of Government Role of E&T Systems Role of Businesses Overview
      • The role of the business community in skills formation
      • Assessment of the involvement of African businesses
    1 2 3 4 5 Role of Individuals
  • 19. Macroeconomic trends and market failures of E&T systems suggest employers need to take a longer term approach to skills formation for knowledge-based development Key Employer Roles in the Skills Formation System
      • Continuous, regular on the job training and knowledge transfer
      • Training in response to high-performance workplace organization and skills relevancy but also remediating inadequate pre-employment general skills
      • Improved performance and productivity gains from skills acquisition are linked with pay when firms exercise wage flexibility
      • In cases of market failure which deter workforce investment, joint approaches that share the responsibility between government and business have been effective: Training subsidies or payroll levy-grant schemes
      • Cooperation of education and training institutions, the business community, and governments to provide individuals with gainful, rewarding employment as well as firms obtaining the skills in the quantity and quality required
      • Ensures that relevance and employability mandate of E&T systems is fulfilled, minimizes information gaps and uncertainty that could prevent individual E&T investment, and reduces the need for general skill remediation
      • Need for apprenticeships; inclusion, and oversight of employers of curricula and defining the skill sets needed by graduates
    Sources: Hall and Lansbury (2006); Ashton and Sung (2002); Jacobs (2002); Quintini, Martin et al. (2007)
  • 20. Sources: World Bank Enterprise Survey As compared to other developing countries and based on E&T system quality, the incidence of firm-based training suggests workforce investment is likely inadequate Brazil (67%) India (16%) Do you offer formal beyond “on the job” training to your permanent employees? China (93%) Russia (37%)
  • 21. What percentage of your total permanent employees received formal training last year? Skilled Employees Unskilled employees Sources: World Bank Enterprise Survey Only a small percentage of skilled and unskilled employees are receiving training; Firms in other developing countries are training more of their employees Firms in comparison countries are training more of their staff
  • 22. What was the average number of weeks of training for each employee ? Skilled Employees Unskilled Employees Sources: World Bank Enterprise Survey When firms do provide training, however, the duration appears longer than in comparator developing countries Firms in comparison countries provide 1 week of training
  • 23. Skills Formation for Knowledge-based Development Assessment Success Factor Performance in Advancing KBE Evidence Coordination Enrollment far outpaces growth in paid employment indicating access initiatives are proceeding faster than job creation Policy Alignment Evidence that some countries are effectively coordinating policy. However, skills formation cannot be driven only by a select minority group in the labor force that is formally employed Broad-based, Inclusive Skills Formation There appears to be no clear direction to integrate those in the informal sector into the KBE despite notable E&T access gains Relevancy and Employability For countries in low skill equilibria, skills needs are being met. However, countries at intermediate stages require stronger skills Quality Assurance There is anecdotal and empirical evidence of quality issues. Yet, compared to other developing countries there is progress Access Rather incomplete enrollment statistics and Grade 5 survival rates reflect adequate levels of access Workforce Investment Firm based training rates are low and training reaches very few employees Workforce Development Government-education-industry collaboration is anecdotally low; This conclusion is also supported by the extent of skills gaps Investment Optimization Lifelong-learning High Low Adequate
  • 24. Agenda Situational Analysis Role of Government Role of E&T Systems Role of Businesses Overview 1 2 3 4 5 Role of Individuals
      • The role of individuals in skills formation
      • Assessment of individual investments in skills formation
  • 25. Key Roles of Individuals in the Skills Formation System
      • Private rates of return explain the motivation of individuals for skilling
      • Willingness is influenced by the probability of finding employment that adequately rewards the skills achieved
      • Returns are higher where technological progress is rapid and policy is conducive to technological progress and skill intensive development
      • Neglecting the delicate balance between skills demand and supply can lead to systemic failures such as low skill equilibria or overskilling
      • Market failures, externalities, and market rigidities may alter the incentives and return to skilling resulting in sub optimal investment in skills formation
      • Market failures may be immensely difficult to solve politically
      • Emphasizes continuous learning throughout all stages of life for the purposes of community engagement, the workplace, development, and well-being
      • Requires public spending on education for which social returns exceed private returns (such as basic and secondary education) and increased private spending on investments that yield private returns (most higher and continuing education)
      • Subject to the individual investment optimization process
      • Evidence from a variety of regions such as the Arab World, Africa, and Latin America, suggests a lack of a lifelong learning culture and operationalization
    Individuals are calibrating their investments in particular skills sets in an environment characterized by uncertainty about the returns on education and training investments Sources: Mayer (2000); Becker (1994); Rosenzweig (2010); Finegold (1999); Mavromaras, McGuinness et al. (2007); Bank (2005); Maruatona (2006); Yousif (2009)
  • 26. Sources: Psacharopoulous (1994); Bennell (1996); Siphambe (2008) Selected Private Rates of Return to Education from Psacharopoulous 1994 Update
      • Inadequate country coverage
      • Low data quality
      • Methodology uses paid employment data despite large informal labor markets and high public sector employment
      • Does not capture educational quality
      • Rapidly expanding E&T systems have outpaced paid employment
      • Jobs initially taken by those with lower education attainment are now being competed for by secondary/tertiary graduates
      • Educational qualifications may be devalued in this market
      • Data is dated and likely does not reflect job competition, screening, and filtering down in formal sector
      • Assumption that rates of return are higher at primary and secondary level is challenged by more recent data
      • High rates of return for higher levels of education indicate that the distance between the earnings of the highest and lowest worker in the skill hierarchy is big leading to income inequality
    In an environment of rapid change and unclear employment , education and training investment optimization is challenging; Investment in lifelong-learning is even more so In the past, declining returns as level increased Now higher education may yield higher returns Limitations in Current Analysis Emerging Trends Country Study and Year of Publication Primary Seconday Higher Botswana (1984) 99.0 (reporting error) 76.0 38.0 Botwana (2008) 9.0 Upper:8.0; Lower: 15.0 24.0 Ivory Coast (1987) 25.7 30.7 25.1 Ethiopia (1972) 35.0 22.8 27.4 Ghana (1969) 24.5 17.0 27.0 Lesotho (1983) 15.5 26.7 36.5 Malawi (1986) 15.7 16.8 46.6 Zimbabwe (1992) 16.6 48.5 5.1
  • 27. Skills Formation for Knowledge-based Development Assessment Success Factor Performance in Advancing KBE Evidence Coordination Enrollment far outpaces growth in paid employment indicating access initiatives are proceeding faster than job creation Policy Alignment Evidence that some countries are effectively coordinating policy. However, skills formation cannot be driven only by a select minority group in the labor force that is formally employed Broad-based, Inclusive Skills Formation There appears to be no clear direction to integrate those in the informal sector into the KBE despite notable E&T access gains Relevancy and Employability For countries in low skill equilibria, skills needs are being met. However, countries at intermediate stages require stronger skills Quality Assurance There is anecdotal and empirical evidence of quality issues. Yet, compared to other developing countries there is progress Access Rather incomplete enrollment statistics and Grade 5 survival rates reflect adequate levels of access Workforce Investment Firm based training rates are low and training reaches very few employees Workforce Development Government-education-industry collaboration is anecdotally low; This conclusion is also supported by the extent of skills gaps Investment Optimization Calibrating individual invetsment in education and training is problematic due to job competition, screening, and filtering down Lifelong-learning There is a lack of a lifelong learning culture complicated by the voltaility and uncertainty of private returns to skilling High Low Adequate
  • 28. [email_address] www.wesmba.com http://wesschwaljephd.blogspot.com http://uk.linkedin.com/in/wesschwalje You can contact me at It is difficult to bring such a discussion to a neat conclusion. Nor is there much point in attempting to offer “recommendations. ” These are some initial ideas aimed at encouraging a systematic approach to what is both a national and continental issue, in Africa, the Arab World, Latin America, even Western Europe and the US