WEDNESDAY, 1 APRIL 2015

Buhari’s victory in Nigerian election has global significance

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Muhammadu Buhari’s convincing defeat of incumbent Goodluck Jonathan in the Nigerian presidential election is an event of global significance. To his credit, President Jonathan promptly conceded defeat, thereby discouraging any attempt to impede the transfer of power.

The election was held even as the world’s attention was further drawn to the gruesome brutalities committed by the Boko Haram insurgency. Inexplicably, Africa’s largest armed force, which has been given enormous financial outlays, has not been able to subdue a ragtag militia.

The world desperately needs a victory against cultist jihadism. Nigeria can provide it. As commander-in-chief, Buhari can oversee a coordinated effort to squelch the insurgency.

His victory is also significant because it has been achieved via democratic elections.

In no other large country, with an almost equal number of Muslims and Christians, is such a process conceivable. The subsiding of the Arab Spring deflated hopes for… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 27 MARCH 2015

Harambee video contest shows what is right about Africa

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Harambee International has launched a global video contest to showcase what is right about Africa.  The contest is open to professional journalists and to students and will cover everyday topics such as the role of education, the family and sustainability, as well as positive stories of societal integration.  The winner in the professional category will have produced a programme that has aired between January 1 and June 30, 2015, and will go home with a prize money of 5,000 Euros, while the winner in the amateur category will win 1,500 Euros.

As Mrs Rossella Miranda of Harambee, from her headquarters in Rome, explains in the video on this page, the story of Africa is more than wars, about disease, poverty or terrorism.  This is why the contest organisers want to highlight the dynamic and often unpublished but positive stories from the continent.

 

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THURSDAY, 26 MARCH 2015

Technology may yet give Nigeria a transparent election

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Nigerians may know who the winner of the forthcoming presidential election is without having fto rely on government confirmation first.  This is because of the many Internet apps that local tech geeks are deploying to help citiizens monitor and report the process.  Voters are able to confirm their eligibility as well as monitor vote counts.  This promises to mirror and even better the 2011 elections when voters used Twitter to share live votie counts direct from the polling centres.

Some of the citizen-powered websites have information on what to do on election day and how to lodge complaints.  Others like "Thumbpower" say "It's a simple thing really, just vote".  

The two main contenders are the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, and the former military dictator General Muhammadu Buhari.  It is the closest election the country has witnessed in recent history and seems too close… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

SATURDAY, 14 MARCH 2015

Low-cost smartphones flood Africa

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Owning a quality smartphone in Africa a few years ago was something only for the rich and the lucky. Today, at a price of less than 100$, (and thanks to competition, even as low as 70$) and with prices dropping fast, many African consumers no longer see them as an exclusively luxury item.

Over one-third of the continent’s 1.1 billion population owns a mobile phone and it is expected that this year, the smartphone market will grow by over 40% (up from a penetration of 15%), putting 70 million new smartphones in circulation. A recent study by Deloitte (published on February 16) showed that by 2017, an expected 350 million smartphones will be in use. These will be connected to rapidly expanding broad-band infrastructures that are being installed to keep up with the demand, and will go hand in hand with a boom in digital content, internet access and mobile-phone paying services, the… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2015

Water is key to Africa’s Development Agenda

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“Water is key to the agricultural and energy sectors, both critical to accelerating growth and development in Africa.”  This is why it came as a surprise to Mr. Thomas Chiramba, Head of Freshwater Ecosystems Unit at the UNEP in Kenya, that “there is too much focus on household water access and not enough on linkages between water and sustainable development.”

Part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) project for African countries was to ensure that people have access to safe drinking water, and specifically, to reduce the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by half in 2015. Efforts to meet this target have been praiseworthy. However, the main challenge is to turn water access into a resource for sustainable economic development, and not just for domestic use.

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FRIDAY, 23 JANUARY 2015

Yes, Africa will feed itself within the next 15 years

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Africa will be able to feed itself in the next 15 years. That’s one of the big “bets on the future” that Bill and Melinda Gates have made in their foundation’s latest annual letter. Helped by other breakthroughs in health, mobile banking and education, they argue that the lives of people in poor countries “will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history”.

Their “bet” is good news for African agriculture: agronomy and its natural twin, agricultural extension, are back on the agenda. If Africa is to feed itself, the women and men who grow its crops need access to technical expertise on how to manage their variable natural resources and limited inputs and market intelligence on what to grow, what to sell and what to keep.

New tools in the hands of farmers    

The Gates foundation report… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 30 DECEMBER 2014

Are these Africa’s best 10 tech startups of 2014?

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As 2014 grinds gradually to a halt, some good news of startups that rocked Africa is not misplaced. For most techies, software development and entrepreneurship are usually two concepts that find it difficult to mix well in the continent.  Some African countries, with Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya in the lead, hold out exceptional hopes for a bright future. 

While this may not be an exhaustive listing, these ten technology startups braced the odds and could be considered as some of Africa’s best 10 for 2014.

click here to read whole article and make comments

 

SATURDAY, 1 NOVEMBER 2014

Hargeisa, promoting culture for Somalia

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A lot of what people know about Somalia comes from movies or television and very little of this has to do with business or technology; companies merging, new products in the market, the stock exchange etc. Rather we see reports on the latest terrorist activities, millions of refugees fleeing from a never ending war, Oscar nominated films on pirates sailing menacingly along the east coast of Africa, or soldiers held hostage by rebels after their helicopter crashes down. Although these reports, films and programs are based on real life events, they leave us with the impression that Somalia is the last place in African where someone would want to be, and that the events taking place in one square kilometre are representative of the remaining 640,000. 

This might explain why an event such as the Hargeisa International Book Fair can go unnoticed in its seventh consecutive year. Or why Hargeisa itself… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 23 SEPTEMBER 2014

Lagos: the world’s fastest growing city

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Lagos is becoming one of the world's great mega-cities. Here's an optimistic look at the future of an astonishing development project, Eko-Atlantic, a planned district of Lagos, Nigeria, being constructed on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean. 

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TUESDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER 2014

Heroes of the war on Ebola

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Wars nowadays are fought by remote control, with drones, missiles and bombers. But the only way to win the war on Ebola is with boots on the ground.

The heroism of grunts who work to exhaustion to save lives ought to be the real focus of media coverage of the epidemic which threatens people Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and even Nigeria.

Of course, scientists in the West are working hard to develop a vaccine for the disease which kills between 50 and 90 percent of its victims. But the only one specifically aimed at Ebola, an American drug called ZMapp, has not even been tested properly on animals.

And there are weighty ethical and social obstacles to distributing it willy-nilly to people with the disease. Although some of the people who have taken it have regained their health, others have died. The World Health Organization has authorised doctors to use the… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

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Africa is a continent that is big, joyful, generous, enthusiastic and optimistic. Harambee tells its stories: from its love of life and family, to people who have withstood great odds to stories of innovation achieved with limited resources. Our partner is Harambee Africa International, a Rome-based NGO. We want to hear from you. Contact Eugene Ohu, the editor, at harambee@mercatornet.com


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