2019/03/31: More than 20 African countries have joined together in an international mission to plant a massive wall of trees running across the continent – and after a little over a decade of work, it has reaped great success.
The tree-planting project, which has been dubbed The Great Green Wall of Africa, stretches across roughly 6,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) of terrain at the southern edge of the Sahara desert, a region known as the Sahel.
The region was once a lush oasis of greenery and foliage back in the 1970s, but the combined forces of population growth, unsustainable land management, and climate change turned the area into a barren and degraded swath of land.
After decades of political collaboration, the Great Green Wall project was finally launched by 11 countries in 2007.
The initiative has since recruited at least nine additional countries to plant drought-resistant acacia trees across the entire width of the continent. Though the wall is currently only about 15% percent complete, it has already dramatically impacted the participating countries.
Byproducts of the restored landscape include many groundwater wells refilled with drinking water, rural towns with additional food supplies, and new sources of work and income for villagers, thanks to the need for tree maintenance.
This paper focuses on recent initiatives in three countries (Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania) to “tax” the internet through introducing excise duties on, essentially, internet access and/or use.
It concludes that:
The increased excise duty on internet data services in Kenya is not a violation of international human rights norms and standards, as the increase is unlikely to hinder access to and/or use of the internet for Kenya’s people.
The excise duty in the form of licence-related fees for online content services in Tanzania is a violation of international human rights norms and standards, because the fees imposed are so high that they would render the cost of posting content online – that is, effective internet use – simply unaffordable for the vast majority of Tanzania’s people.
The excise duty on what is defined as “over-the-top services” in Uganda is a violation of international human rights norms and standards, because it renders the cost of accessing such services – that is, effective internet access – simply unaffordable for the majority of Uganda’s people.
The paper also makes suggestions for how redress might be sought in respect of Tanzania’s and Uganda’s human rights violations resulting from the imposition of their excise duty regimes.
"When he announced another US$60-billion in financing for Africa last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised that the money had “no political strings attached.”
But a series of recent incidents, including cases of media censorship and heavy-handed academic controls, have cast doubt on that promise. China’s financial muscle is rapidly translating into political muscle across the continent.
At a major South African newspaper chain where Chinese investors now hold an equity stake, a columnist lost his job after he questioned China’s treatment of its Muslim minority.
In Zambia, heavily dependent on Chinese loans, a prominent Kenyan scholar was prevented from entering the country to deliver a speech critical of China. In Namibia, a Chinese diplomat publicly advised the country’s President to use pro-China wording in a coming speech. And a scholar at a South African university was told that he would not receive a visa to enter China until his classroom lectures contain more praise for Beijing."
2018/10/10: In Edna Mall on the bustling Bole Road in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, Mesert Baru poses for her Tecno Camon i. "This phone is seriously nice for selfies," says the 35-year-old shop assistant, admiring the picture she just took.
Mesert's satisfaction is no accident. Tecno cameras have been optimized for African complexions, explains Arif Chowdhury, vice president of Transsion. "Our cameras adjust more light for darker skin, so the photograph is more beautiful," he says. "That's one of the reasons we've become successful."
More innovations followed. Transsion opened research and development centers in China, Nigeria and Kenya to work out how to better appeal to African users. Local languages such as Amharic, Hausa and Swahili were added to keyboards and phones were given a longer battery life.
Chinese companies have been eager to use technology to tap into Africans' spending habits. In 2015, Kenyan mobile payments operator M-Pesa migrated all of its 12.8 million subscribers to Huawei's Mobile Money platform as it expanded across East Africa and beyond. The move increased the number of transactions M-Pesa could process, and the app's user base has more than doubled since then.
For Transsion, future growth is set to come from building its business outside Africa in other developing markets, such as Russia, Indonesia and Bangladesh. In 2017, it launched Tecno in India and within a year had claimed 5% of the huge market, according to IDC.
How did Tecno make such rapid progress? Transsion's Chowdhury says another innovation tailored to local customs has helped.
"Indian people use their hands to eat food," he says, "so their fingers get oily. What if you're having lunch and your boss calls? You try to take the call but your fingerprint won't work." The fix: screens that can read greasy fingers.
2018/04/14: African digital enterprises thrive that are able to integrate analog and digital value creation, addressing a specific local problem that is widespread but unaddressable for foreign competitors in a cost-effective way. This doesn’t mean that Tayo’s vision is unrealistic; it only means that it will take rather exceptional founders and companies to break the pattern that most African digital enterprises currently fall into.
Digital enterprises from the US, Europe, and East Asia have been recognized for their potential to achieve global market reach, and for forming a globalized digital infrastructure. However, digital enterprises from economically peripheral countries have usually remained local.
This paper seeks to understand the enterprise-level reasons for these global differences. Drawing on in-depth interviews with founders, we empirically examine the value creation and geographical market scope of 73 digital enterprises in Lagos, Nairobi, Accra, and Kigali.
We develop theory that explains why enterprises in global economic peripheries are able to exploit some but not all opportunities of digital technologies.
In contrast to the claim in current scholarship that digital enterprises can operate in relatively unbounded ways, we find that African enterprises cannot compete in global digital markets and are ultimately compelled to offer localized digital products.
Based on these findings, we theorize that digital products with the greatest global scaling potential are the least likely to be owned and controlled by digital enterprises located in economic peripheries. We thus encourage scholars of digital enterprise to more carefully take geographical variation into account, and acknowledge technological drivers of increasing unevenness in the global digital economy.
2018/09/11: The future of food in the world will depend on what Africa does with agriculture.
one recent study estimates that elevated carbon dioxide (co2) could cause an additional 33.6 million in sub-Saharan Africa to become zinc deficient and another 16 million protein deficient by 2050 if levels continue to increase unabated. Today, an estimated 60 million African children under 5 years old are stunted due to inadequate nutrition.
Africa contributes little to global greenhouse gas emissions, but is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change due to its weak ability to adapt to related weather impacts, as well as its dependence on rain-fed agriculture.
A range of actions across sectors is needed to ensure the sustainability of Africa’s food and land use systems - and the health and well-being of millions of children.
2018/09/11: All industrialized countries used low-cost labour to build industries and manufacture mass-produced goods. Today, labour is relatively inexpensive in Africa, and a similar industrialization process might take off accordingly. Some worry that industrial robots will block this development path. The reason is that robots are most useful when doing routine tasks -- precisely the kind of work that is typical of labour-intensive mass production. At the moment, however, robots are much too expensive to replace thousands upon thousands of workers in labour-intensive industries, most of which are in the very early stages of the industrialization process. Robots are currently best used in technologically more demanding fields like the automobile or electronics industry.
2012/08/16: Eliodomestico, an open-source variation on a solar still.
It functions by filling the black boiler with salty sea water in the morning, then tightening the cap. As the temperature and pressure grows, steam is forced downwards through a connection pipe and collects in the lid, which acts as a condenser, turning the steam into fresh water. Once Diamanti established the fundamentals were sound, he experimented with a series of concepts for the aesthetic of the object. “My goal was to design something friendly and recognizable for the users,” he explains. “The process developed quite naturally to determine the current shape; every detail is there for a reason, so the form, as well as production techniques, represent a compromise between technical and traditional.” Primary field studies in sub-Saharan Africa revealed the habit of carrying goods on the head–also a common practice in other areas around the world–and this was integrated into Eliodomestico’s plan. And while solar stills aren’t a totally new concept, Diamanti says it’s rare to find them in a domestic context rather than in missions or hospitals
The fast-growing use of cell phones in Africa - where many people lack the basic human necessities - has made headlines worldwide the past few years. The surprising boom has led to widespread speculation - and hope - that cell phones could potentially transform the impoverished continent. Cell phones are making a difference, says Mbiti, but his latest research also reveals, however, that cell phones alone can't drive development.
Also available in: Fran195167ais Photo: Arne Hoel/World Bank There's no question that agriculture is critical to Africa's biggest development goals. It is fundamental for poverty reduction, economic growth and environment sustainability. African food market continues to grow. It is estimated that African food markets will triple to US$1 trillion from its current US$300 billion
Asha Stuart's short film is a work of art. The story, divided into three chapters, follows one of the members of the native African tribe living in India's forests for more than 500 years.Known as the
Da oltre 70 anni i Paesi francofoni africani usano il franco CFA, moneta imposta a suo tempo dagli ex colonizzatori. Sulla base di alcune regole applicate al cambio e alle operazioni finanziarie tale moneta avvantaggia l'economia francese - commerci e multinazionali - più che quelle africane. Una delle regole è che il 50% delle riserve di cambio dei Paesi della zona franco devono essere depositate su un conto della Banca di Francia, a Parigi, conto che si stima ammontare a 10 miliardi di euro. A nulla finora sono valse proteste e critiche. L'attivismo anti-CFA è soprattutto quello di economisti e intellettuali africani, mentre la maggior parte dei capi di Stato rimane in bilico su posizioni di comodo.
In 2012, the Chinese government "graciously offered" African States a gift and constructed the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa.
Trends include delivery drones, pay-as-you-go off-grid power, and using blockchain to prevent land disputes.
As we mark World Alzheimer's Day, research shows that tackling non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension could reduce the caseload.
Exclusive: Unfazed by EU threats of air strikes, smugglers tell Patrick Kingsley of their shady profits, refugees' dangerous treks across the Sahara, how migrants often steer the boats - and even how Europe could put them out of business
One of the aspects of the fight for gender equality in Africa that has been particularly frustrating for women activists is that much of this inequality ...