System dynamics models for Africa's developmental planning

OUTPUT TYPE: Monograph (Book)
TITLE EDITOR(S): A.Brent, T.Simelane
DEPARTMENT: African Institute of South Africa (AISA)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10303

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The present applications of systems thinking in the form of system dynamics had been largely influenced by the contribution of Jay W. Forrester of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Jay Forrester's ambition in developing system dynamics has been to extend a range of applied systems thinking to more strategic problems.12 Through his popular work on Urban Dynamics, he introduced new perspectives in interpreting urban problems by linking together engineering and social sciences.13 Other contributors of significance to System Dynamics include Peter Senge and Khalid Saeed, both of MIT. Peter Senge, through his popular publication 'the Fifth Discipline', extended the application of System Dynamics to various fields. Since then System Dynamics as a decision support tool has been expended. This has seen the establishment of System Dynamics Chapters across the world, as part of the System Dynamics Society. To immerse the application of System Dynamics in Africa, a South African System Dynamics Chapter was established14 in line with the surge in the use of systems dynamics as a decision support tool in various fields that include: business, water management, health, engineering, energy management, education, agriculture, and retail. This book seeks to contribute to the emerging applications and literature of Systems Science and System Dynamics, in particular. Africa is still faced with numerous complex problems like un-ending conflicts, migration, terror attacks, dwindling natural resources, the effects of climate change, and skewed economic growth. To prove that systems thinking and system dynamics may provide an alternative tool for understanding Africa's complex problems, this book was conceptualised and put together by System Dynamic modellers relating their experiences in Africa. The book is intended for university students, planners, engineers, and policy-makers. It is highly recommended as a reference for system dynamics modelling in South Africa, and Africa.