El Niño leaves hunger in its wake

By Lou Del Bello     An estimated 10.2 million people are now food insecure in Ethiopia, as a result of an exceptional drought exacerbated by the El Niño event that began last year. The situation not only in the country but also across the whole of East Africa is predicted to worsen in coming …

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Why the voice of Africa’s informal economy should be heard

Terence Jackson, Middlesex University The informal economy in Africa is big business. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that its average size as a percentage of gross domestic product in sub-Saharan Africa is 41%. This ranges from under 30% in South Africa to 60% in Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. It is also a huge employer. …

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Why South Africa’s plans to militarise humanitarian work are misguided

Savo Heleta, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University The South African Defence Review, the country’s new defence policy, was approved in March 2014. It guides policy-making for the next two to three decades. The promotion of stability and peace in Africa is a priority for South Africa. The Defence Review says it will contribute to the prevention …

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Crop rotation increases maize yields in Malawi

By Sanje Msiska [LILONGWE] Incorporating crop rotations, whether in conventional or conservation agriculture tillage systems, could help boost maize yields, according to a study in Malawi. Researchers from the United States and Zimbabwe say that in Malawian smallholders’ farms maize yields are low, resulting in low food production in the country. The researchers compared three …

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A sunshade to help southern Africa cope with climate change?

Mike Muller, University of the Witwatersrand This article is a foundation essay. These are longer than usual and take a wider look at a key issue affecting society. Climate change is a global problem. But local actions are needed to reduce its impact. Specifically, southern African countries must consider what they can do to protect …

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