Famine, Rural Economies 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:
From Madagascar to Ethiopia to Somalia and beyond, governments, international aid agencies, and the villagers they help are building up “community resilience.” That’s the new buzzword in humanitarian circles: It is seen as key to ensuring that farmers and herders have something to hold onto when drought strikes, rather than cycling endlessly in and out of disaster.
Resilience is a big concept that works in little ways. It could be a water project such as Sihanamaro’s, ensuring that already malnourished children do not get sicker by drinking polluted water. It could be a public works venture in Ethiopia that pays villagers cash or gives them food to build roads or dig wells. Or it could be an experimental farm in Somali-
land encouraging goatherds to diversify into growing food crops.
These initiatives won’t prevent drought, nor will they eliminate famine overnight. But by helping people withstand sudden shocks and contributing to longer-term development goals, they are saving lives.
Africa’s prime financial lender, the African Development Bank (AfDB) , says that boosting rural economies stands as one way of creating employment for young people. For that reason, providing educated young people with, for instance, technologies to process agricultural produce for both local consumption and exports will open new job opportunities for the youth. It is to be assumed therefore that the AfDB is ready to put its money where its mouth is to bolster rural economies for the good of the African people.
Broadband has the potential to transform rural economies to overcome many of the challenges of distance and isolation, says Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Broadband provides them with information, access and choice. More than that, broadband creates the potential for the emergence of new industries in rural areas. In many of the sectors of the economy that are undergoing rapid change as a result of the fourth industrial revolution, it is possible to provide services to global clients from almost anywhere – be it Mumbai, Mombasa, Munich or Mhlontlo. Broadband provides opportunities to improve the provision of services to communities.”
“Universal access to broadband is critical to inclusive economic growth,” he said.
South African doctors do not want to work in rural areas and a non-profit organisation is meeting the needs of the population by recruiting foreign doctors to work in the deepest parts of the country.
Africa Health Placements focuses on the remote and the most rural parts of South Africa and they find doctors who are then absorbed by the department. The doctors are contracted by the national Department of Health.
Provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said the work done by Africa Health Placements was helping the department where South African doctors were falling short.
In 2014 alone, about 11 million young Africans entered the labour market. But many see few opportunities in the agriculture sector and are constrained by a lack of skills, low wages, and limited access to land and financial services. Combined, this makes them more prone to migrate from rural areas.
Youth employment should be at the centre of any strategy to face economic and demographic challenges in Africa, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) José Graziano da Silva told a joint African Union-European Union meeting in Rome.
“Fostering sustainable agriculture and rural development is essential to absorb these millions of youth looking for a job,” Graziano da Silva said. “A sustainable world can only be achieved with the full engagement of young people. They must feel integrated and believe that a more peaceful and prosperous world is possible.”
The African Chicken Genetic Gain (ACGG) has said it is set to enhance food security through rural farming.
The Project Leader, ACGG, Prof. Funso Sonaiya, said this would be achieved through the transformation of smallholder chicken production into commercially viable enterprise with private sector engagement that could empower rural women, increase income and nutrition of their families.
He said this would be achieved through a transformational, comprehensive and system-wide approach to the improvement of village poultry production systems at a scale that had the potential to impact millions of the poor in three partner countries including Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania.
Morocco improves the access rate to drinking water in rural areas to 96.5% by the end of 2017, thanks to investments exceeding 1 billion dirhams annually.
The information was disclosed by Morocco’s secretary of state in charge of water Charafat Afilal who was briefing MPs at a parliamentary session on the progress in terms of drinking water supply in rural areas. She pointed out to the measures taken by the government to ensure a steady water supply through using surface water, deepening the used wells and increasing their water flow as well as launching campaigns to sensitize the public on water saving with a view of putting an end to the water deficit in the country by summer 2019.
She added that investments over the period of 2014-2017 rose to 2.8 billion dirhams earmarked notably to water supply network and the improvement of the quality of water distribution.