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John Gbenagnon

Futures Thinker Profile



John Gbenagnon

Community Developer: Global Observatory for Inclusion

Executive Director: SOHOUTOU Initiative


  • July 2012: Baccalaureate in Sciences (CEG Entente)
  • July 2014: University Degree in Literally Studies (English)
  • 2017: Bachelor in Management of Human Resources

  • John answered a few questions about his perspective and on being a futures thinker.


You identify yourself as an African futures thinker or practitioner. How would you describe to the woman or man on the street what it is that you do in this regard?

Born on the 25th December 1993 in Benin, John Gbenagnon is a social justice campaigner, advocate in sustainable education, youth inclusion and gender equality. He has extensive experience in communication and project management and youth training. He has held leadership positions with several youth led regional and international organizations and currently is member of FEMNET (African Women Network for Communication and Development).

He is founder and Executive Director of SOHOUTOU Initiative, a regional NGO which intervenes in social inclusion, youth education, women’s empowerment and communication (https://sohoutou.wordpress.com). John is the community developer at GLOBI (Global Observatory for Inclusion) www.globi-observatory.org

How many years have you worked as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

3 years (July 2013)

In which countries or places have you had working experience as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, France, South Korea

In what languages have you undertaken futures / foresight related work or research?

French, English

What is it that motivates you to work or participate in the foresight / future studies / related field

Every day when I wake up, the first question I ask myself is: What problem can I solve today?
My speciality is to build networks, put people together to bring out their best for a positive outcome.
I believe that everything is possible. That is why I am working every day to bring my skills and competencies on board to build the world I want. (Responsible, powerfully-minded young people, more connected, a world where women’s rights implementation will be an obligation and only option for Africa's development).

What goal/s would you most like to reach with your work as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

1. Build a network of young Africans who can think for themselves and take action.
2. Involve thousands of young Africans every year to advocate online and offline for gender equality and women’s empowerment in their communities.
3. Have training clubs in all African schools to train young women for leadership, advocacy, lobbying and personal development.

Who or what most influenced your thinking as a futures thinker / practitioner, and how?

H.E. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is my Hero. She has been my greatest inspiration since 2012.
She influenced my thinking with her political skills, problem solving abilities, long term perspective plans for Africa's development and her ability to give a space for young people especially young women to let their voices be heard and empowered them.

What is your main disciplinary background? (i.e. your primary training / qualification)

English studies

How do other people describe you and how do you describe yourself?

Others describe me as… Proactive
I describe myself as… Pragmatic



What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” - Charlie Jones

How would you describe the state of African futures thinking right now?

Africa is more united, well governed member states with proactive and pragmatic young people taking their destiny in their own hands. Women are prominent in more areas (50% in governments, 50% in parliaments, and 50% in the administration).

What is, in your opinion, the main barrier to uptake of futures knowledge by African institutions and organisations?

The main barrier is most of the time lack of sustainable cooperation with governments. When the elite do not possess transformational leadership skills, they see the NGOs as threats or barriers to their personal interests instead of working in specific collaboration with the CSOs to provide spaces and solve the minorities' problems.

If you were to give advice to someone who wants a career in African foresight / future studies, what would you say to him or her?

Development and Gender Studies

What are your recommended readings for every African futures thinker / practitioner?

  • Brian Tracy (Build Your Own Future)
  • Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich)
  • Francis Fukiyama (Trust)
  • Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence)
  • Dorothea Brande (Wake Up and Live), 1935
  • Guillermo Maldonado (Supernatural Power)

What are your recommendations for other favourite futures resources: websites, newsfeeds, mailing lists, associations, etc.?


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