The African Angle seeks to amplify the voices of contemporary African thought leaders speaking on issues of global concern.
To Ensure Food Security, Keep Soils Healthy
Soil degradation across the world has contributed to climate change, malnutrition, and poverty. Esther Ngumbi argues that national governments, NGOs, and research institutions need to step up to protect healthy soil and restore agricultural land.
Smart Slums, Smarter Cities
As climate change continues to affect weather patterns, floods are becoming a regular phenomenon in many African cities. Carl Manlan discusses how community-focused urban design can prevent extreme weather from destroying local economies.
Organic Food Is Not Just for the Rich
In many parts of the world, organic food is regarded as a luxury item because it is significantly more expensive than conventional groceries. Nigerian biochemist Mojisola Ojebode explains how accessible and affordable organic food could improve Africa’s environment, economy, and overall health.
Rebooting Subsistence Agriculture in Rural Areas
The 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aim to end poverty and achieve zero hunger. Esther Ngumbi argues that promoting economic growth in rural areas and improving access to cities are key to achieving these goals.
Liberia’s Ambitious Education Policy
Liberia’s education system was hit hard by two civil wars and the outbreak of Ebola, and less than half of the country’s 15- to 24-year-olds are literate. Responding to criticism of the cost and methods of the government’s partnership with private education providers, Dr. Saaim Naame argues that academic achievement and quality of instruction should be given the most weight when evaluating the program.
Can the Nigeria Solid Minerals Development Fund Deliver?
The Nigeria Solid Minerals Development Fund aims for the mining sector to contribute three percent of the country’s GDP by 2025. George C. Lwanda explains how the fund must overcome gaps in geological data, prevalent illegal mining, and insufficient long-term investment spending in order to achieve this goal.
Prioritizing Skin Bleaching as a Public Health Concern
Unrealistic beauty standards have led to a high prevalence of skin bleaching across Africa and around the world. Ogo Maduewesi explores the dire health risks of the chemicals in many skin-whitening products, and argues that this practice must be treated as a public-health concern.
Popular Lynching in Madagascar
Incidents of lynching have become increasingly common in Madagascar in the past two years, and the government has been unable to stop them. Yvon Randriaharimalala suggests that reintegration of the historical Dina court system could empower communities to systematically resolve conflict rather than resorting to violence.
Stopping the Menace of the Fall Armyworm
From Ghana to Ethiopia, an infestation of the fall armyworm poses a threat to food security across Africa. Esther Ngumbi discusses ways that governments and international organizations can enhance their efforts to curb the spread and impact of this destructive pest.
Is the United Nations Failing to Prevent Atrocity Crimes in Burundi?
Political violence in Burundi, triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial nomination for a third consecutive term in 2015, has triggered a large-scale refugee crisis. Amilcar Ryumeko describes how after months of U.N. meetings and statements, no concrete steps have been taken to effectively address the situation.
Youth Unemployment and the Fight Against Terrorism in West Africa
Unemployed youth across West Africa can be tempted to join terrorist organizations that offer a steady source of income. Gertrude Adwoa Offeibea Ansaaku argues that helping young people find jobs and reducing economic inequality will reduce the threat posed by violent extremist groups.
A Kenyan Approach to Preventing Violent Extremism
Discussions of women’s roles in preventing violent extremism often focus on the individuals who join terrorist groups, rather than those who can combat radicalization in their communities. Fauziya Ali argues that local and national authorities in Kenya should engage women in ways that address gender inequality and mistrust of police.
Time for Africans to Take the Driver’s Seat
The U.S. government’s proposed cuts to foreign aid threaten the future of millions of people in poor nations like Malawi. Ellen Chilemba argues that lives should not depend on the outcome of U.S. elections, and African citizens must take the lead in improving social and economic conditions on the continent.
Sudan at a Crossroads
Now that U.S. sanctions may soon be lifted, Sudan must consider how to fully re-enter the international community. Yousif Yahya argues that policy-makers in Khartoum should channel resources into education and research to ensure the average citizen will reap the benefits of global engagement.
A New Approach to End Malnutrition in Africa
Africa is the only continent in the world where malnutrition is on the rise. Mercy Lung’aho argues that implementing systems to track chronic malnutrition and predict food security risks can help avert crises.
Infection Control and Hygiene in the Face of Ebola
Nearly three years after the outbreak of Ebola, inadequate sanitation continues to threaten the health of Nigeria’s citizens and economy. Adeyemi Adewole details the measures being taken in rural regions to provide infection-control products and change public attitudes toward hygiene.
Farmers Must Adopt Agricultural Practices that Improve Soil Health
Healthy soils are critical to global food production, but many farmers have yet to adopt practices that can improve soil resilience and increase yields. Esther Ngumbi discusses steps the scientific community must take to share recent advancements with farmers in Africa and around the world.
Khartoum Should Mediate, Not Instigate
The current diplomatic crisis in the Gulf puts Sudan, which has several key allies in the region, in a delicate position. Yousif Yahya explains why Khartoum must continue its efforts to mediate rather than take sides in the dispute.
Youth Must be Trusted to Lead in Africa
Solving the youth employment puzzle in sub-Saharan Africa requires a shift in thinking about the roles young people play in their communities. Reem Rahman and Lynsey Farrell explore how new organizations are empowering students to assume leadership roles and meaningfully engage in their own career development.
Africa’s Hidden Drought: A Desert of Agriculture Policy
For Africa’s smallholder farmers, policies are often a hidden menace, doing as much damage to production as more obvious challenges like drought. Boaz Blackie Keizire explores the case of one farmer in Kenya whose success can be traced to deliberate interventions that improved access to quality seeds and fertilizers.
Education in Kenya Needs Faster Reform
Nearly 2 million Kenyan children attend private, community, and faith schools that operate outside the formal regulatory structure. Chris Wamalwa, a member of Kenya’s National Assembly, explains why registering these informal schools is critical to improving education access in under-served communities.
A Universal African Basic Income
Guaranteeing basic income in Africa would provide a safety net and kick-start young people’s participation in the economy. Carl Manlan argues an African-funded universal basic income program should be paired with industrialization and tax reforms to boost the continent’s prosperity.
The Use of Rhetoric Promoting Sexual Violence in Burundi
Amid a political crisis that has produced hundreds of thousands of refugees in Burundi, the youth wing of the ruling party has begun to espouse rhetoric that promotes sexual violence toward women. Amilcar Ryumeko examines the use of inflammatory speech to intimidate political opponents, emphasizing the need for direct action to protect human rights.
The Use of Mimosa as a Source of Renewable Green Energy
Nigeria’s unreliable electric power supply and reliance on traditional sources of energy, like firewood, is not sustainable. Justus Nwaoga explains how using a medicinal plant, the mimosa weed, to make solar panels could provide a renewable energy source for markets across Africa.
Youth Unemployment is Unsolvable Without Addressing ‘Waithood’
As traditional rites of passage diminish, youth across Africa can find it increasingly difficult to fully transition into adulthood. Reem Rahman and Lynsey Farrell discuss the ways social entrepreneurs are encouraging intergenerational bonds to help young people overcome this period of “waithood.”
Trump’s UNFPA Aid Cuts Will Deepen Poverty
President Trump announced earlier this month that he would cut U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund, which distributes aid to organizations that provide reproductive health services. Ariong Moses argues the cuts could trigger a population boom in Africa, putting pressure on the continent’s resources and threatening stability.
Youth Employment Imperative: Shifting from Youth Exploitation or Entitlement to Rewarding Meaningful Contributions
Employment programs that rely on unpaid, voluntary participation often struggle to keep young people engaged in their work. Reem Rahman and Lynsey Farrell describe how social entrepreneurs across Africa are finding creative ways to offer compensation and opportunities for youth who invest their own time and money in volunteer programs.
Engaging Our Microbe Allies in the Battle Against the Fall Armyworm in Africa
The fall armyworm is an invasive pest that is decimating crop fields and threatening food security across Africa. Entomologist and researcher Esther Ngumbi outlines possible solutions, including the use of beneficial soil microbes to contain the spread of the harmful insect.
To Prepare Young People for 21st-Century Jobs, Design Classrooms Beyond Walls
Schools and social entrepreneurs in many African countries are organizing hands-on experiences where students apply classroom knowledge to solve community problems. Reem Rahman and Lynsey Farrell outline the strategies and creative financing approaches behind these innovative educational opportunities.
How Purpose and Holistic Health are Foundational for Youth Career Development
Youth unemployment is a stubborn scourge in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, where school systems often produce more test takers than critical thinkers. Reem Rahman and Lynsey Farrell explain how social innovators are seeking to close the gap in post-education unemployment by providing young people with purpose and holistic health.
The Anglophone Problem
Since Cameroon’s independence, its Anglophone population has clashed with the Francophone-dominated government, leading to a mass strike in late 2016. Charles Kouasseu argues that a multi-state federation with representatives accountable to the public is needed to resolve the problem.
Redefining What Counts as a “Good” Job
Unemployment in many African countries is exacerbated by the pervasive idea that informal jobs are not viable career options. Reem Rahman and Lynsey Farrell share the ways entrepreneurs across the continent are reversing these stereotypes and connecting youth to alternative industries.
Costs and Benefits of the CFA Franc
After independence, many former French colonies in West and Central Africa signed monetary cooperation agreements with France. Today, Issiaka Coulibaly argues, these countries should seek more flexibility in shaping their own monetary policies and focus on strengthening regional economic integration.
Sudan After Sanctions
The Obama administration’s decision to ease sanctions on Sudan earlier this year came as a surprise to many. Yousif Yahya describes the steps Sudan can take to restore its regional role now that restrictions on financial dealings with Sudanese companies have been lifted.
Somaliland: A Stable and Independent State, But No Recognition
With a new U.S. president in office, Somaliland, an autonomous region in the northeastern part of Somalia, may have a chance at gaining international recognition as an independent state. Nimo Ismail discusses what stands in the way of recognition for this safe haven in an otherwise volatile region.
Continuing the Wins in Soil Health Restoration in Africa
Sixty-five percent of Africa’s soils are degraded, resulting in low crop yields and perpetuating the poverty trap. Esther Ngumbi advocates for soil conservation practices to be scaled up across the continent to enhance agricultural production and food security.
Success in Addis Ababa: AU Commission Finally Elects a Chairperson
On Jan. 30, the African Union elected a chairperson to its Commission after failing to reach the required two-thirds majority last July. John Mukum Mbaku lays out the challenges that the victor, Moussa Faki Mahamat of Chad, will face, from threats to security and development to a bureaucracy in need of reform.
Giants Awaken: Gambia’s Civil Society Revives Its Role
Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh finally stepped down on Jan. 21 after days of protests and Adama Barrow’s swearing-in at the Gambian embassy in Senegal. Sanna Camara analyzes the role that civil society played in this political crisis, celebrating the re-emergence of citizens’ voices in public debate.
The Slow Repatriation Process of Somali Refugees in Dadaab
For over 20 years, Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp has been a home to Somalis fleeing drought and armed conflict. Though the Kenyan government has committed to closing Dadaab, Andrew Maina writes that the process of voluntary repatriation will be slow and complicated due to problems with infrastructure, rule of law, and weather conditions in Somalia.
Talking Policy: Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi on the African Union
At the end of January, the African Union will elect a new chairperson. World Policy Journal spoke to Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, foreign minister of the Republic of Botswana and a candidate for the position, about the African Union’s role in addressing key challenges and realizing the continent’s potential.
Looking to Nature for Solutions to Societies’ Problems
Human societies face tremendous challenges, including disease epidemics and the life-altering impacts of climate change. To find better ways to address these issues, Wilfred Ndifon argues people should apply principles learned from nature.
Promoting Health Literacy for Women
Despite opportunities for education and career advancement, many women still face misogyny at home. Bisi Bright argues that the effectiveness of health literacy initiatives across Africa hinges on women being empowered to make key decisions for themselves and their families.
Toward a Pan-Africanist Perspective on Science
The legacies of South Africa’s colonial and apartheid history can still be found in the country’s education system. Over a year since student protests began, Ndumiso Daluxolo Ngidi defends recent calls for a decolonized science, detailing the importance of promoting indigenous scientific knowledge in academic spaces.
Re-thinking Farming as Climate Change Continues to Ravage Africa
Record-breaking temperatures and severe droughts along the Kenyan coast have left farmers helpless as their crops wither and die. Esther Ngumbi explains how learning and implementing strategies to deal with water shortages will help farmers produce food in a changing environment.
Gambia: Social Media Overwhelms a 20-Year Dictator
The evening before the Gambian presidential election, internet traffic ground to a halt as the incumbent president blocked access throughout the country. Sanna Camara describes the vital role social media played in effecting democratic change and the importance of online freedom.
The African Perception of Africans
From European colonization to de facto South African rule, Namibia’s history has contributed to a multicultural and multiracial society. Zodidi J. Gaseb describes the efforts of younger Namibians to combat tribal stereotypes and to navigate identity and self-expression.
Quality in African Universities: The Need for a New Narrative
African universities often rank low on global indices, but not for a lack of commitment and creativity among scholars. Mary Njeri Kinyanjui argues that to improve the quality of education and research, institutions must not be beholden to Western funders and academics should be encouraged to pursue innovative thinking.
Across South Africa, university students continue the Fees Must Fall movement, calling for the free education promised by the ruling African National Congress. Faith Kiarie discusses the ANC’s lack of urgency to resolve this crisis and its growing disconnect with the country’s youth.
Where’s the Starting Point? Kenya’s Corruption Quagmire
Despite President Kenyatta’s rhetoric condemning corruption, graft still pervades Kenya’s political institutions. Isaac Otidi Amuke compares the Kenyan situation to the recent investigations of South Africa’s office of the public protector, pointing to the capacity of independent state agencies to prosecute corrupt officials in the absence of political will at the top levels of government.
Africa Without Numbers: Mission Impossible
Data is power, and those who can access the numbers can create narratives to serve their own purposes. Carl Manlan discusses the power of reclaiming statistics from international donors so that African governments can more accurately assess their countries’ needs and plan for economic development.
“Cashgate” Exposed the Moral Deficit in Malawi
The theft of $32 million over six months by Malawian government officials was exposed in late 2013 in what became known as the Cashgate scandal. Rev. James Tengatenga argues that the case reveals less about a political or legal failure than it does about a culture of impunity and a moral deficit in Malawian society.
Lessons from Africa’s History of Jihad
Despite the popular perception that today’s jihadist insurgencies are “clashes of civilization” founded on resistance to change, the history of Islam in Africa shows that belief to be largely incorrect. Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos argues that movements of Islamic rebirth have been intricately tied to innovation, state-building, and the adjustment to modernity.
What Canada Can Do to Help Resolve the Burundi Crisis
Burundi has been in political turmoil for over a year, with hundreds of citizens murdered and over 300,000 now refugees. As countries like Canada consider how to respond, Amilcar Ryumeko outlines concrete steps for the international community to take before the human rights situation gets worse.
Hope for Uganda’s HIV-Infected Children
Uganda has made great strides in the provision of care for people living with HIV/AIDS. Phoebe Kajubi examines the government’s response to the health crisis and the impact of antiretroviral treatment programs for HIV-infected children.
Brain and Muscle Drain in Somalia
Brain drain has long been cited as a problem facing Somalia and other countries across Africa. Nimo Ismail explains why muscle drain, the departure of uneducated youth, must also be considered when analyzing the effects of emigration and developing a sustainable democracy.
Address Violence Against Women and Girls Now!
In Uganda and countries around the world, violence against women and girls is commonplace, perpetuated by social norms that permit various forms of abuse. Tina Musuya outlines community interventions that can change gender dynamics and fight these human rights violations.
To Tackle Polio, Nigeria Must Tackle Boko Haram
Two new cases have emerged since Nigeria was declared free of endemic polio last year. Ify Aniebo argues that the Nigerian government’s failure to control Boko Haram and insufficient attention to health care services in conflict areas have led to the resurfacing of the crippling disease.
The Continuing Need for Diverse Voices on Africa
Locally-informed, nuanced perspectives are often lacking in international media coverage of issues related to Africa. David Stevens speaks to the importance of including African voices in global policy conversations.
Immunization is Key to Healthy Systems in Africa
The resurgence of polio in Nigeria and efforts to expand vaccination highlight the social, political, and bureaucratic difficulties in eradicating infectious diseases, particularly in areas affected by conflict. Dr. Folake Olayinka argues that health care services must become more reliable and proactive to increase vaccination coverage in many African countries.
The Migration Crisis and African Asylum Seekers
Eight of the 10 athletes on the Refugee Olympic Team are of African origin. As the refugee crisis has become one of the key stories of this year’s Olympic Games, Andrew Maina explains that African migrants will continue to seek asylum as long as there is persecution and violent conflict in their home countries, and structural inequality in the international economic system.
The Gambia Government’s Involvement in Trafficking
Although The Gambia’s government has ended its official labor agreement with Qatar, it is an open secret that traffickers bring young Gambians boys and girls to work in the Middle East. Sanna Camara discusses the government’s involvement in this well-orchestrated system of contemporary enslavement, revealing the abuse and exploitation these young children are subjected to.
Environmental Management: A Malaria Control Strategy for Nigeria
Nigeria has the world’s highest burden of malaria mortality, accounting for more than 20 percent of malaria deaths in 2015. Oluwatomisin Ogundipe argues that environmental management is necessary to improve Nigeria’s current malaria initiative and reduce the country’s high death toll.
A Multi-Sectoral Approach to Education Reform
Kenya recently unveiled a steering committee to overhaul the country’s education system, a task that the government has shied away from for years. Raphael Obonyo argues that a multi-sectoral approach involving public and private actors is necessary for comprehensive reform given Kenya’s limited education budget.
Toward Peaceful and Credible Elections in Ghana
Following a disputed vote in 2012, Ghana’s 2016 general election is crucial to the country’s democratic future. Ransford Gyampo argues that the Christian Council of Ghana must use its relationship with Ghanaian people to ensure credible and peaceful elections in December.
Education in Liberia: Disrupt the Status Quo
Almost 13 years after the end of the Liberian Civil War, schools remain unequipped to educate the country’s war-affected children. Ahmed Konneh argues that the Partnership Schools for Liberia Initiative provides a unique opportunity to redefine the current, failed model by utilizing private providers to administer high-quality public education.
Build trust, not jails, to improve immunization in Africa
In March, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a new law that will put parents in jail who fail to vaccinate their children. Given Africa’s distrust of the pharmaceutical industry and of government, Ify Aniebo asks, could coercive immunization laws work?
The Trans-Gambia Highway: Integration or Isolation?
There have been six border closures between The Gambia and Senegal since 2000. Sanna Camara discusses the contentious, ongoing border issue and proposes that the Trans-Gambia Bridge would a solution for enduring stability between the two countries.
What Will It Take To End Child Marriage?
Despite widespread condemnation and laws against the practice, many girls across the world are forced into marriage at a young age. Agnes Ariho Babugura discusses the debilitating consequences of child marriage and argues that long-term investment in cultural change is needed to end it.
African Philanthropists and Economic Progress
The rise of Africa’s billionaire industrialists is accompanied by increased philanthropic ventures across the continent. Carl Manlan contends that well-designed projects addressing social problems can contribute to economic transformation.
Baby Aisha & the Challenge to the Gambian State
Protesters have been calling for electoral and political reform in the Gambia since April 14, and dozens have been arrested. Sanna Camara discusses President Jammeh’s intolerance of dissent and how an infant girl was caught in the crosshairs of government repression.
Time to Honor Promises
The #FeesMustFall campaign last year reflected students’ frustration with the high costs that make university education inaccessible to many. Faith Kiarie argues that the South African government must listen to young people’s demands to reform an education system that is increasing rather than reducing inequality.
Immunization is Key to Healthy Systems in Africa
Routine immunization systems are falling behind in many African countries, contributing to the resurgence of infectious diseases such as yellow fever. Dr. Folake Olayinka argues that health care services must become more reliable and proactive in order to increase vaccination coverage.
How SMS is Transforming Lives in Africa
Poor access and weak governance in many parts of Africa have created fertile ground for innovations using the mobile phone. From banking to health care services, Teodoro De Jesus Xavier Poulson argues that foreign investors should recognize Africa’s fast-growing mobile technology sector and support businesses that have widespread socioeconomic impacts.
Using Technology to Plan for Africa’s Urban Expansion
Rapid urban growth and unplanned settlements are major concerns in many of Africa’s cities. Sarah Logan and Mallory Baxter detail a new data collection method through SMS messaging in Kigali, Rwanda that allows researchers to use the information they gather to improve city planning.
African Universities and Gender-Based Violence
Recent decades have witnessed enormous cultural shifts in Botswana, particularly in the capital city of Gaborone. Drawing on personal experience as a woman in academia, Sethunya Mosime argues that educated women’s progress is impeded not by traditional culture, but by the oppressive patriarchal systems found within Botswana’s universities.
Madagascar’s Mismanaged Environment
The Malagasi government lacks the resources to properly manage its abundant wildlife, which often leads to exploitation by the so-called “conservation mafia.” Bruno Salomon Ramamonjisoa warns that without the implementation of effective policies, Madagascar’s environment and people will continue to suffer from underdevelopment and corruption.
Development of Refugee Law in Kenya
Many of the provisions for refugees codified by Kenya’s 2006 Refugees Act are being rolled back. With that legislation currently under review, Andrew Maina traces the development of Kenyan refugee law and argues that advocacy is required to halt the securitization of asylum space.
Gender Equity in Madagascar
Madagascar’s government and civil society are increasingly advocating for women’s rights. Gaby Razafindrakoto explains the ongoing efforts to empower women and what still needs to be done to achieve gender equity.
Changing Senegal Through Rap: Y’en a Marre
The Senegalese rap group Y’en a Marre, meaning “fed up,” has ambitions that go beyond entertaining. World Policy Journal spoke with Djily Baghdad, a member of Y’en a Marre, about the group’s efforts to promote democracy and good governance through its music.
Armed Groups and Mineral Extraction in the DRC
Despite concerted efforts to defeat them, armed groups continue to operate in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Washikala Malango argues that the groups’ access to conflict minerals is not as critical to their survival as is often believed, so efforts to cut them off from this source of income will not end the violence in the Congo.
Burundi: Chronicle of a Foretold Disaster
In the spirit of the Responsibility to Protect and “never again,” Amilcar Ryumeko argues that it is high time for the international community to implement and put into action practical steps in an attempt to deescalate the conflict in Burundi.
World Policy on Air Ep. 57: “Crimes Against Humanity in Burundi”
Amilcar Ryumeko, Burundi native and former political advisor in Canada, highlights ongoing human rights violations in Burundi, from sexual abuse to charges of genocide by government security forces and supporters.
The Migration Crisis and African Asylum Seekers
The EU has recently pledged aid money to countries outside its borders that are willing to take in refugees. However, Andrew Maina explains that many African migrants are seeking not only physical security, but also greater economic opportunity, and therefore will continue moving to wealthy European countries.
Positioning Peasants, Artisans, and Traders
Peasants, artisans, and traders are often marginalized in the global economy, despite their vital role in systems of production and exchange. Mary Njeri Kinyanjui explains how these workers have adapted to changing economic conditions across Africa.
Crimes Against Humanity in Burundi
In recent months, many have claimed that the violence in Burundi constitutes genocide. Amilcar Ryumeko argues that regardless of whether that term is applicable, serious crimes against humanity have been committed and international intervention is required.
Uganda’s Sick Health Sector
Presidential candidates in Uganda are calling attention to the country’s failing health sector, which suffers from a severe lack of doctors, medicine, and basic infrastructure. Isaac Imaka argues that unless the government puts its promises for improvement into action, Ugandans will continue to needlessly die.
No Genocide in Burundi
The latest episodes of violence in Burundi have been branded ethnically-motivated massacres, causing concern about a potential genocide. Roland Rugero argues that using the word ‘genocide’ in reference to the killings is inaccurate and dangerous, and that the best way to end the cycle of violence is to address the difficult conditions facing Burundi’s youth.
Business of the Church
Many Nigerian churches are flourishing financially, drawing wealthy members with their ‘marketplace theology,’ in which duty to God goes hand in hand with drawing a large profit. Azu Ishiekwene considers the lessons businesses can learn from these churches.
Enhancing Individual Capability in Rural Communities
To promote development, governments must create favorable conditions for all citizens to participate in the economy. An indispensable component of making this development inclusive, Alex Thomas Ijjo argues, is working directly with entrepreneurs to enhance skills and motivation.
Making the Solar Panel Switch in Ghana
Ghana has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, as wood is the primary fuel source in many rural communities. Carmel Pryor argues that in order to mitigate deforestation’s effect on climate change, people in these communities must have access to sustainable energy alternatives.
Ivory Coast: A Story of Local Companies’ Struggle for Survival
Amid a deluge of foreign investment, domestic companies in the Ivory Coast are struggling to survive. Selay Kouassi reports on how these companies are carving out niches for themselves by adapting and catering to local tastes.
The Burden of Women in South Sudan
Peace talks in South Sudan signify the willingness of South Sudan’s government and armed opposition to cease the escalation of violence, but with one disturbing omission: the representation of female delegates.
The Climate African Farmers Counted On Is Gone
As rainfall patterns change and rivers and lakes dry up, small-scale farmers across Africa are struggling to adapt their practices to the new weather conditions. Esther Ngumbi argues that governments must prioritize investment in climate change adaptation to ensure their countries’ food security.
Civil War: Unlikely in Burundi
The current crisis in Burundi is often portrayed as a conflict between a bloodthirsty youth arm of the ruling party and innocent opposition youth groups. Roland Rugero argues, however, that the real conflict is taking place within elite circles, and that all young people stand to lose from the recent surge of violence.
More Work, Less Wages
Women in rural Nigeria make substantially less money than their male counterparts despite assuming widespread leadership roles in the agricultural sector. Olanike F. Deji argues that increased access to land and technology would help close the gender gap and better ensure Nigeria’s food security.
Paving the Road to Prosperity for Africa’s Farmers
Farmers in Uganda and other sub-Saharan countries often struggle to reach markets in a timely manner because of a lack of roads and basic infrastructure. Emma Naluyima argues that in order to transform agriculture into a profitable venture for millions of smallholder farmers, paving roads and easing border crossings must become top priorities.
The Battle for Free Education in South Africa
The #feesmustfall protests across South African universities have reignited the national movement for free and quality education. Ndumiso Daluxolo Ngidi explores the protests through South Africa’s broader historical context and argues that the discontent is about far more than just rising education costs.
Examining Labor Migration Policy in South Africa
South Africa benefits from labor migration, yet the country’s policies to stop migration provide little opportunity for migrant access. Zaheera Jinnah argues for a multi-stakeholder approach to develop and manage an effective labor migration regime that protects workers and grows the economy.
Illegal Fishing in the Shadow of Piracy
Widespread illegal fishing by foreign vessels in Somali waters threatens the livelihoods of local fishers and could encourage a new wave of piracy. Yusuf Abdilahi Gulled discusses the challenges faced by Somali fishers along with potential local solutions.
Tackling Africa’s “Unemployable” Challenge
Africa is facing a major crisis: the biggest segment of its population, its youth, are unable to find jobs. Misan Rewane, co-founder and CEO of WAVE, discusses this challenge and her organization’s model for connecting unemployed youth with professional opportunities.
Understanding the African Consumer
Optimism surrounding the growing African middle class has helped consumer-facing industries on the continent to project $400 billion in growth by 2020. The Program for African Thought at World Policy Institute and Fireside Research have surveyed a sample of middle-class South Africans, Nigerians, and Kenyans to gain a better understanding of Africa’s evolving consumer culture.
Tightening the Screws
The South African Department of Trade and Industry has proposed a controversial cap on interest rates, particularly for unsecured loans. Faith Kairie examines both sides of this debate and its impact on the microfinance sector.
Burundi: Two Hugs to Solve the Crisis
Gambian Media: Haunted by its History
Once a vocal critic of colonial rule, independent media in The Gambia today has come under assault as journalists are repeatedly targeted by the government. Gambian journalist and blogger Sanna Camara outlines the struggle of the nation’s media to remain active during President Yahya Jammeh’s four terms in office.
Energy Innovation Where It’s Most Needed (In Africa)
Energy shortages throughout Africa create a large-scale opportunity for products like Tesla Energy’s new Powerwall. Aurelien Chu and Samuel Miles, consultants in the Dakar office of Dalberg Global Development Advisors, explain how small-scale energy storage will radically transform Africa’s energy landscape.
How Entrepreneurship is Transforming Africa
Following this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Peter Bamkole reflects on the ways in which entrepreneurship is transforming the African continent. He argues that African governments should be strategic in promoting entrepreneurship since it creates jobs, involves youth in the economy, and improves the overall quality of life.
LGBT Rights in Kenya: A Conversation with David Kuria
Despite some recent gains in the struggle for equality by Kenyan LGBT activists, same-sex relations remain criminalized in Kenya and transgender persons lack legal recognition. In anticipation of Obama’s first presidential visit to his father’s birthplace, WPI’s Patrick Kurth spoke with leading advocate David Kuria about the nuances of Kenya’s fight for civil rights.
Empowering Farmers on the Kenyan Coast
Smallholder farmers around the world have the potential to help strengthen global food security, but many lack the knowledge and skills they need to farm successfully. Esther Ngumbi writes about Oyeska Greens, a start-up she founded to teach smallholder farmers on the Kenyan Coast the best practices in modern agriculture.
Understanding the Crisis in Burundi
Coverage of Burundi’s crisis has focused on the debate over a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza, but there are more complex issues at stake. Roland Rugero explains how the failed coup in May intensified divisions within the ruling party and placed Burundi at the center of global fights for influence over the region.
Inequality In South Africa : A Post-Apartheid Analysis
Despite reforms aimed at reducing inequality in South Africa, the population is still divided by significant gaps in wage distribution. Alireza Saniei-Pour of the University of Cape Town examines the poverty traps and educational factors that are keeping South Africans from entering the middle class.
Countering Human Trafficking in Uganda
Following the insurgency in northern Uganda by the Lord’s Resistance Army, victims of war crimes and human trafficking were left homeless and stigmatized. Agnes Igoye writes about the Huts for Peace initiative, which she founded to empower and shelter survivors through community building projects.
Reintegrating Boko Haram
As Nigeria debates post-conflict reintegration options for Boko Haram, Tarila Marclint Ebiede examines the effect of the Niger Delta peace program on public opinion. He argues that the Nigerian government should develop a nonviolent alternative for Boko Haram, but that it must be community-based and context-specific.
Making Financial Services Work for South Africans
South Africa has one of the most highly developed financial systems on the continent, but a large part of its population still lacks access to or fails to use formal banking services. Faith Kiarie explores the reasons for this underutilization of services, and argues that the government should endeavor to level the playing field.
Emerging Entrepreneurs, Part III
In the third installment of our ‘Emerging Entrepreneur’ series, Franco Sacchi visits mSurvey, a technology start-up based in Nairobi. Using simple SMS texting, this mobile survey platform allows businesses and researchers to collect data from a broad population base in Africa and the Caribbean.
Emerging Entrepreneurs, Part II
Franco Sacchi details the development of a business model in East Africa aimed at improving the education of children living in poverty. Bridge International Academies equips educators with low-cost school kits and training materials to teach in almost any environment.
Investing in Higher Education
Africa is home to seven of the world’s fastest growing economies, yet only 6 percent of young people in sub-Saharan Africa are enrolled in higher education institutions. Amini Kajunju argues that investment in higher education is essential for economies on the continent if they want to successfully compete in the global market place.
Emerging Entrepreneurs, Part I
The first installment in a new series of posts by Zambia-born documentary filmmaker Franco Sacchi tells the story of Ariff Shamji, the CEO of AAA Growers. After being educated abroad, Shamji returned to Kenya to found an agriculture company that would go on to employ over 4,000 people.
Investigating the World Bank’s Broken Promises
In February 2013, the state government of Lagos flattened a decades-old slum to make way for an urban renewal project financed by the World Bank A team of more than 50 journalists spent nearly a year documenting the bank’s failure to protect the nearly 10,000 impoverished residents from displacement.
Five Lessons From Africa’s Green Revolution
Addressing Hate Speech in African Digital Media
Hate speech plagues digital media channels across Africa, promoting xenophobia, homophobia, and ongoing ethnic strife. Mohamed Keita argues that the gatekeepers of these institutions can do more to foster healthy and positive dialogue through existing social mediums.
The Rise and Perils of West African Startups
Despite the attention paid to Africa’s successful entrepreneurs and the international funders that support them, many African startups face a host of obstacles, which hinder their success and profitability. Raindolf Owusu argues both local government and foreign investors must restructure the way they distribute guidance and aid.
Can Africa’s Informal Sector Spur Growth?
For decades, academics and urban planners have viewed Africa’s informal economy as an inferior sector. However, Mary Njeri Kinyanjui contends that artisans and traders behind these informal networks exhibit a brand of solidarity entrepreneurialism that enables market growth as well as community development.
Reforming Liberia’s Mining Sector Post-Ebola
With Ebola contained in Liberia, officials are preparing to reopen mining activities even while iron ore prices are slumping. Robtel Neajai Pailey and Silas Kpanan Ayoung Siakor argue that the slow-down affords Liberia an opportunity to bring communities into the process of renegotiating mining concessions.
Ethiopia’s Adhoc EU Policy
Ethiopia has no substantive policy toward the African Union. Dr. Mehari Taddele Maru and Abel Abate argue that developing a full-fledged grand strategy is not only vital for Ethiopia’s transformation, but is also important for the security of the entire continent.
The Spaza Spirit
In May 2008, xenophobic attacks against foreign African nationals living in South Africa left tens of thousands displaced and numerous businesses and homes destroyed. But as Faith Kiarie of Fireside Research point outs, foreign African entrepreneurs are essential to growing the South African economy.
Status and Sustainability in Malawi
Burnt bricks are a key component of home building, as well as a prominent symbol of social status, in Malawi. However, they require massive deforestation and perpetuate flooding. In our latest photo essay, we examine this vicious cycle of escalating construction and destruction.
Nigeria 2015: Challenges to Delayed Elections
As interest in Africa has recently increased, the presidential elections in Nigeria have gained global attention. At a time when many African countries are making strides toward consolidating their democracies, Mmakgantsi Mafojane argues that the postponement of elections in the continent’s most populous country could raise a number of concerns.
Pathways and Opportunities in African Industrialization
With East Asia having successfully industrialized through trade zones, and nations like Norway demonstrating successful commodity-led industrialization, Alireza Sanieipour argues that African states have an opportunity to implement similar models in pursuit of their own development policies.
Celebrating Transition from Apartheid to Democracy
South Africa’s highest court is distinguished by its evocative art collection. Former Constitutional Court Justices Edwin Cameron and Albie Sachs explain that the artwork is a reflection on both South Africa’s tortured past and its current transition to a new constitutional order.
Capturing Value in Africa’s Industrial Revolution
Contrary to conventional economic wisdom, the boom of Asian industrialization has kept African manufacturing from reaching its full potential. Yet Alireza Sanieipour of Fireside Research suggests that, by refusing to play to their own strengths, Africa’s industrial renaissance could be hiding under China’s thumb.
A Get Out of Jail Free Card?
Six years after rampant violence rocked Kenya’s presidential elections, President Uhuru Kenyatta now faces charges of crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court. Brian Mwiti explains why Kenya should not withdraw from the ICC despite the initiation of criminal proceedings.
Debasing Africa’s Largest Economy
Nigeria today is a middle-income country characterized by weak state capacity and weak state legitimacy. This state weakness makes citizens vulnerable to a range of shocks which provides the preconditions for crisis. Soji Apampa argues that in order to fix this crisis cycle, Nigeria must move away from its current culture of corruption.
The Agricultural Route to African Jobs
At more than 20 percent, youth unemployment in sub-Saharan Africa is high, and with 10 million young Africans entering the labor market each year it is only going to worse. Eugenie Maiga argues that agriculture is one avenue for job creation oriented to the reality of African economies.
Confronting Ebola in West Africa
By January 2015, the number of Ebola cases in Western Africa could reach 1.4 million. Ezekiel Attuquaye Clottey argues malfunctioning healthcare systems and ineffective leadership are largely responsible for the failure of several West African nations. However, the experiences of Ghana can serve as an example of effective policymaking in the region.
Africa Unsure of its Place on World Stage
Last August, over 40 African heads of states traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Obama and other U.S. officials. Obadias Ndaba argues that while the media touted the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit as a sign of Africa’s rise to power, the truth is quite the opposite.
How (not to) Write about African Wars
Western media has a knack for oversimplifying complex realities in Africa, particularly in regards to its coverage of civil wars. André-Michel Essougnou proposes a three-step plan, which integrates local African voices into journalism, thereby providing a more nuanced understanding of local conflicts.
Ebola: The Mounting Cost of Inaction
The 2014 Ebola outbreak has already claimed the lives of 1,800 people across three Western African countries. Tanya Anderson explains how globalization has helped transform a virus into an epidemic, and the role humanitarian intervention can play in curtailing the spread of it further.
Need For Global Energy Security
The UN’s new Sustainable Energy for All Initiative addresses the growing need for energy reform amongst global governments, the private sector, and civil societies. Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella discusses the link between international energy policies and poverty eradication, climate security, and technological development.
The Need to Unleash Africa’s Ideas
President Obama’s African Leadership Summit convened this week, connecting African leaders to their U.S. counterparts in an effort to spur cross-continental partnerships. David Stevens describes the significance of the Summit and the importance of mutually-beneficial, innovative idea-sharing between Africa and the West.
Hong Kong’s Warning Signs for South Africa
As thousands of citizens protest China’s encroaching role in Hong Kong, anti-Beijing sentiment is hitting an all time high in the special administrative region. Ufrieda Ho argues that South Africa, a country increasingly intertwined with China, should take notice of Hong Kong’s growing frustration.
The Role of Institutions in African Development
As Africa’s demographics shift, improvements in health and sustainability have become a higher priority. Adeyemi Adewole discusses innovations the Center for Sustainable Health and Environment has created, and the significance of using diverse resources for research and innovation.
The Imported Tradition of African Dictatorship
Examining the history of African rulership, George B.N. Ayittey argues that despotism and dictatorship historically did not exist in African politics. He contends that African states need to return to tradition and hold the continent’s rulers accountable to their populations.
A Vulgar Caricature of an African King
King Mswati III of Swaziland’s brutal rulership over an impoverished nation encapsulates the colonial legacy of corruption in African politics. George B.N. Ayittey explores how centuries of Western influence have shaped the way leaders, like King Mswati III, govern their people.
Education: Africa’s Unfinished Business
Of the 57 million children who do not attend school, 31 million are girls and over half of them reside in sub-Saharan Africa. Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu asks when these young women will be given the educational opportunities they deserve.
Rwanda & South Africa: Unfinished Journeys
In the past 20 years, Rwanda and South Africa have emerged from deeply violent pasts, embarking on paths toward democratic governance. Dr. Gertrude Fester compares the countries’ recent histories and argues that gender equality must be a top priority in both democratic transitions.
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