How will new national visions and long-term plans improve the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Africa?
National long-term planning appears to have come full circle in many countries across the West African region.

From its highest point during the waves of national independence in the 1960s and 70s – when most countries had long-term plans – to its lowest when Structural Adjustment Programs were introduced in the 1980s, long-term planning is now gaining popularity again. Almost all countries in the sub-region now have long-term visions, and others have developed special-purpose institutions to drive those visions.

But what is different this time around? How are the 21st-century national plans evolving? Will they make an impact?

This Issue of West Africa Trends explores these questions. It explores (a) how long-term visioning is evolving across the region, (b) trends in participatory planning and (c) institutional mechanisms being used to drive long-term trends. How do we see the future of poverty within the context of long-term planning in the region?

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