Horizon scanning is well-suited to the study of frontier technologies and innovation. In the case of Southern Africa, it is important to consider not only what is scientifically or technically possible, but also how it can be adapted to the specific regional context.

While South Africa is recognised as a strong voice in climate change negotiations, it is certainly not the most powerful country. As such, South Africa has had a difficult balancing act to play in protecting its interests.

South Africa must lead in revitalising a post-COVID-19 social compact for Southern Africa as a foundational inspiration for Africa’s socio-economic and democratic recovery. A core assumption held by observers of global affairs is that societies and economies benefit from close cooperation.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its domestic and global impact will require that South Africa fundamentally rethink and review the strategic underpinnings and operational modalities of its foreign policy along two axes, namely its ‘Africa Agenda’ and its approach to multilateralism.

The digital economy and e-commerce are developing fast in Africa. The forthcoming implementation of the African free trade area (AfCFTA) will encourage intra-African trade. These two forces combined, offer a new inclusive future for Africa. E-commerce is growing throughout Africa, but is mainly nationally focused at present.

Water is a stress multiplier in Africa. Climate change and development decisions manifest in stressed water resources, while poor governance further undermines water security.

This paper presents an assessment of Southern Africa's response to drought. It provides insight into its capacity to respond to severe environmental stresses. Insights drawn from the assessment allow for a deeper understanding of climate adaptation readiness in the region.