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Budgets Cut, Farm Workers, and Other Reports

Every week, RuralReporters.com collate reports on development issues in rural Africa and its environs.

This report includes some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, blogs, and in-depth articles, carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues.

Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week:

Swaziland Health Crisis Getting Worse As Budgets Cut. Rural Areas Worse Affected

The Government of Swaziland / eSwatini has cut budgets for public health services across the kingdom and rural areas in particular are suffering, according to the latest report from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO reported there were not enough doctors, nurses and support staff. The report comes at a time when nurses have been demonstrating across Swaziland to draw attention to the crisis in the health service.

Farm Workers March to Stop Evictions in South Africa

Dozens of farm workers marched to the Western Cape Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in Long Street, Cape Town, on Friday. Led by Tshintsha Amakhaya, a civil society alliance, workers sang struggle songs, waved placards, and carried banners that read: “Evictions violate human rights” and “No to evictions”.

Sobantu Mzwakali, Advocacy and Campaigns Officer for Tshintsha Amakhaya, said he and other protesters had handed a memorandum of demands to Minister [of Rural Development and Land Reform Mcebisi] Skwatsha last year, but they had not received any response.

AfDB and ILO support agricultural projects to stem rural exodus of young people in Central Africa

On February 12, 2019 a workshop gathering the Central African countries and the African Development Bank (AfDB) as well as the International Labor Office (ILO) was launched in Brazzaville, Congo.

In the framework of this -unlocking the potential of rural economies through investment in the skills development and employability of young people in the agricultural sector in Central Africa- meeting, Ousmane Doré, AfDB’s director for Central Africa, said in most of the CEMAC countries, rural areas receive little investments both private and public; making them lack facilities such as schools, health center, public transports, electricity or drinking water distribution networks etc. They also suffer from an almost non-existence of companies and a very low presence of government representatives.

The result, according to Ousmane Doré, is a growing imbalance between rural and urban areas, and a lack of opportunities and perspectives for young people in rural areas, which makes them vulnerable, idle, and ultimately pushes them towards cities where, without training and professional qualifications, they will have no other possibility than to exercise precarious employment. Rural areas are thus deprived of their vital resources, not allowing them to exploit their economic potential. This cuts urban areas off from a traditional source of food supply.

Hunger on the rise in Africa, a new UN report reveals

A new United Nations report reveals that hunger is on the rise in Africa following years of decline due to a number of reasons, including difficult global economic conditions, adverse climatic conditions due to El Niño and soaring staple food prices.

Titled The 2018 Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition Report, the joint UN Report reveals that the prevalence of undernourishment continues to rise and now affects 20 percent of the population on the continent, more than in any other region.

After years of decline, recent statistics from the joint report of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) show that there are 821 million undernourished people in the world. Of these, 257 million are in Africa, of which 237 million in sub-Saharan Africa and 20 million in Northern Africa. Compared to 2015, there are 34.5 million more undernourished people in Africa.

Sekyere Afram Plains to become lead cashew producer in Ghana

The Sekyere Afram Plains District Assembly has initiated a district-wide project to encourage the mass cultivation of cashew.

The scheme, intended to form an integral part of the Planting for Exports and Rural Development (PERD) programme of the Government, is geared towards positioning the District as Ghana’s largest cashew producer in the next five years.

Mr Joseph Owusu, the District Chief Executive (DCE), told the Ghana News Agency at Drobonso that the Assembly, in collaboration with the District Directorate of Food and Agriculture, would distribute about 200,000 cashew seedlings to farmers free of charge this year.

How Econet’s Solar Programme Could Transform Rural Communities in Zimbabwe

Barely a week after the unveiling of his $100 million Challenge Fund for rural entrepreneurs and enterprises, Strive Masiyiwa’s major telecoms operator Econet, has launched an electrification project to help transform rural enterprises and create employment in Zimbabwe.

The programme, Ugesi Energy is worth millions of dollars and is the second Econet energy business following the successful launch of Distributed Power Africa (DPA) in 2017. DPA is the group’s commercial solar business, focused on building large solar energy systems for commercial and industrial clients.

The plan is to build solar mini-grids at 100 sites across rural Zimbabwe and each grid will provide power for businesses and homes in the communal areas. However, the initial phase will see small grids provide electricity to support businesses, local administration facilities at growth points, schools and clinics.

http://venturesafrica.com/the-impact-of-econets-solar-programme-in-rural-zimbabwe/

Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde
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