The Promise of System Dynamics in Sub-Saharan Africa

Purpose: The research explores the use of Systems Dynamics (SD) in managing complexities in SSA.

Design/methodology/approach: The overriding objective is a demonstration of the applicability and usefulness of the SD approach in SSA and why it needs to be adopted in curricula and management training programs for the region.

Findings: Using the SD’s approach to investigate the structure of some socio-technical challenges within SSA reveals additional system components specific to the region such as culture and the added impact of well known system elements such as delays in feedback loops.

Research limitations/implications: It demonstrates the relevance of the SD’s approach to management problems with SSA. These overshadow technical issues such as ICT challenges. More action-oriented research is needed.

Practical and Policy implications: Adoption and widespread application of the SD’s approach especially at the strategic management levels in government and other organizations in SSA may just be the missing link needed to reverse the leadership failures in the region and bootstrap a process for better policy formulation and redesign for economic progress.

Social implications: The social implications will also be enormous as SD is all about empowering decision makers with better understanding of the complexity within systems they have design and execute. The approach helps them identify levers of control for ameliorating the problem situations. Issues that plague the SSA region such as poverty, disease, agricultural, etc can be better understood and addressed with SD tools.

Originality/value: Research identifies the Systems Dynamics paradigm as offering perhaps the best set of conceptual, modeling and simulation tools for policy formulation and redesign within SSA.

Keywords: social ills, cultural habits, problem complexity, systems thinking,  system dynamics, modeling, computer simulation


Fonkam, M.  (2010) The Promise of System Dynamics in Sub-Saharan Africa, Anthology of Abstracts of the 3rd International Conference on ICT for Africa, March 25-27, Yaoundé, Cameroon. Baton Rouge, LA: International Center for IT and Development.


This entry was posted in ICTs in Sub-Saharan Africa, Internet and Society. Bookmark the permalink.

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