Securing the Data Revolution in Africa

Importance of data revolution in Africa
Image source: webfoundation.org

Africa must embrace the ongoing data revolution as the types and volume of data continue increasing every day. This new data is creating unparalleled opportunities for informing and transforming societies. A good example of the great value of data is the ability of telecom companies to track the movement of people using data from cell phone towers through which phone calls are routed. Epidemiologists used this data to track where people relocated after they left a certain disease hotspot during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, thus predicting where a new outbreak may occur. The above example is only one way that data can help to transform Africa by keeping track …

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Posted in In Africa.

Alarm over Continued Land Degradation

Men working in a quarry.
Image source: wle.cgiar.org

To measure the land degradation issue, experts have been undertaking an extensive study from space. The team of researchers from Bonn’s Center for Development Research along with other partner bodies has been evaluating huge numbers of satellite photographs. Also, they carried out research in 12 global regions including India, Central Asia, Argentina and a few African countries. The results from this study are quite dramatic. Globally, 25% of croplands and 33% of grasslands have experienced degradation. The issue of land degradation not only means a loss of crucial resources, but a significant income loss as well. As a result, poorer communities are the worst hit and they are struggling to …

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Posted in In Africa.

Southern Africa’s Food Security and Harvests Set to Be Greatly Affected by El Niño

The strongest El Niño episode in the last few decades has resulted in widespread crop failure and driven nearly 10 million Ethiopians into food insecurity
Image source: welthungerhilfe.de

A large part of Southern Africa is facing an intense period of drought, which was strengthened and expanded since the start of the 2015-2016 farming season, caused by a very strong El Niño event. Across large parts of Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Madagascar and Botswana, the usual expected rains did not come, but instead the countries have experienced one of the driest periods in the last thirty years. Agricultural regions in southern Angola and northern Namibia have also continued to experience high degrees of water shortfall. Due to lack of rain, most of the sub region of southern Africa has experienced substantial delays in the start of planting activities and …

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Posted in Climate Change.

3 Major Challenges Facing Africa In 2016

Lady walking past mine in South Africa
Image source: bbc.co.uk

The year 2016 is ushering Africa into an exciting era in global cooperation. The refugee and migration crisis, violence, terrorism, fragility and violence, all mixed with or triggered by the visible climate change effects, are glaring reminders that quick action must be taken on multiple fronts. All these challenges are intertwined and, therefore, must be effectively tackled together. The new UN SDGs as well as key conferences held in 2015 offer a good foundation for a much more comprehensive and systematic strategy to deal with some of the modern global challenges facing Africa. 2016 confronts Africa with the huge responsibility of turning grand words like “sustainable development for all” into …

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Posted in Development.

Africa’s Industrial Revolution Will Be Driven by Innovative Entrepreneurship

Metal 3-D printers may revolutionize industry
Image source: www.voanews.com

The fourth industrial revolution is based on innovative technologies, like 3D printers, that are transforming industrial processes through increasing flexibility and efficiency. With the proper training and tools, young entrepreneurs have the great potential of skipping the second industrial revolution, which was conventional mass production, and directly leapfrogging to modern digital manufacturing. The result of this will be a clear roadmap out of aid dependence and poverty. The continent of African has illustrated a remarkable capability of leapfrogging older types of technology and implementing the latest. For example, most African countries skipped conventional landlines and dial-up internet and moved directly to fast mobile broadband. 3D printing and digital manufacturing will …

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Posted in Business.

Ethiopia in a ‘Strong Position’ of Ending Aids By 2030

As a part of her morning routine, Ethiopian pastoralist Dhaki Wako, 24, pours breakfast tea—mixed with cow’s milk, sugar and spices—for her family of five. As a part of a USAID-supported resilience program, families are learning the importance of nutrition when taking ARV treatment.
Image source: blog.usaid.gov

Ethiopia has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons – millions of people being at risk of death due to drought. However, while the country is struggling with food insecurity and drought at the moment, there have been some important positive stories from this country. One of such is the fact that Ethiopia is in a very strong position of ending new AIDS infections by 2030. According to data from the Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO), Ethiopia has already surpassed its earlier 5-year goal, having reduced HIV infections from 0.28% in 2010 to 0.03% in 2015. Considering that the target was 0.14%, the country has …

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Posted in In Africa.

Africa’s Green Revolution Policies Could Be Making Things Worse

Women pack maize seeds into plastic packets ready to go to farmers.
Image source: www.rockefellerfoundation.org

According to a research published in the World Development Journal, agricultural policies in Africa that are aimed at eradicating poverty in the continent might be making the situation worse. The study that was done by the University of East Anglia discovered that the ‘green revolution’ strategies in Rwanda, supported by international donors, the IMF and the government, is having very adverse effects on poor people. A significant part of the strategy aimed at eradicating poverty in Africa is through supporting polices that modernize and increase agricultural production. Nearly 90% of the population in most African countries are small scale farmers who rely on agriculture. Hence, agricultural innovation, like using new …

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Posted in Development.

Ethiopia Drought Is Due To both Governance and Nature

As drought deepens in Ethiopia, UN and partners urge scaling up of aid.
Image source: www.un.org

Climate change is one of the main causes of drought in Africa, which is often an uncontrollable phenomenon. However, food insecurity caused by drought can, in fact, be controlled. Food security usually correlates with a country’s economic status. All over the world, guaranteeing food security is an important duty and responsibility of the government. In responding to one of the worst droughts that has faced the country, the government is still adamant that Ethiopia is capable of feeding itself. Various NGOs within Ethiopia, including the UN, have reported that more than 10 million people require food aid. Even with a claimed double digit financial growth, Ethiopia is still finding it …

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Posted in Climate Change.

Kenya’s Renewed Women’s Empowerment Efforts Will Fast-Track Economic Prosperity

Rural women sell mango and sweet potato yam at the food processing shop.  They produced the jam with the Multifunctional Platform Project (MFP) introduced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), helping women and girls to no longer spend several hours a day gathering firewood or collecting water.    
Image source: www.ilo.org

When US President Barrack Obama visited Kenya in July 2015, a key message that he left was a call for communities across the country to shun the backward cultures that are known for degrading girls and women. The president referred to the situation as having a team and not giving playtime to half the team, which spoke of the little opportunities women were getting to fully take part in development. Obama’s message was quite pertinent, especially as it was coming at a time when Kenya, like most African countries, is thinking of ways of reaping a boost in financial productivity from its rising youthful population. Kenya is at the tip …

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Posted in Development.

Eritrea’s Indefinite Conscription Policy Is Worsening the Global Refugee Crisis

Several young Eritrean refugees at Endabaguna camp in northern Ethiopia, home to 1,100 unaccompanied minors that have fled forced conscription in their home country.
Image source: news.yahoo.com

Amnesty International recently highlighted that Eritreans should be seriously considered as asylum seekers due to the forced long-term conscription going on in the country. Eritrean refugees are the third largest group seeking asylum in European countries. The main reason of this exodus from Eritrea that is significantly adding to the universal refugee crisis is the policy of indeterminate forced conscription. Eritrea has since said that conscription was going to be restricted to not more than 18 months. However, in reality, the practice is just the same as forced labor and it usually lasts for many years. Many young people are fleeing the country to avoid the forced national conscription. Even …

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Posted in In Africa.
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