Women and children sell firewood in the city of Mutare

How The world Can Stop the Next Migrant Crisis and Other Reports

A lot has happened in rural development in the past week. However, as part of our tradition, we bring you some of the most important reports on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports include some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles which have been carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues. Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week:

The solution to the migrant crisis is jobs in low income countries

Last year witnessed the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the second world war. But Europe is far from alone in confronting swelling ranks of migrants. Globally, one out of every 122 people is a refugee, an asylum seeker, or an internally displaced person. In the last 15 years, the number of those travelling in pursuit of better lives and work abroad has surged by 43% to 200 million . To put that figure in perspective, that’s more than three times the population of the UK.

The sobering reality is that this “tragedy of epic proportions” – in the words of leading UN officials, may merely be a harbinger of what is to come. Several trends are likely to amplify global migration. Demographic studies suggest that by 2050, an additional 630 million people (pdf) will have joined the labour market in the least developed countries (LDCs), where a quarter of the world’s young people reside today. The rapid spread of mobile phones and the internet will further expose the chasm between the world’s islands of prosperity and oceans of deprivation. And cheaper transportation and greater connectivity may prompt more of the world’s poor to decamp for a better life abroad.

In short, we may have seen nothing yet.

Solar Power, Text Messages Fight Maternal Deaths in Rural Cameroon

Julianna Senze, 40, had been in heavy labour for eight hours when she arrived at the Idenau Health Centre in Limbe, on the southwest coast of Cameroon.

Like many women in the country, she had had no prenatal care, so what should have been a routine delivery was now a high-risk medical procedure. The nurses, looking worn and tired, rushed her to the delivery room.

“We had to get her here quickly from Batoke village, some eight kilometres away, after receiving an SMS message from the doctor on duty,” said her husband, his voice strained with worry. Less than an hour later, Senze safely delivered a healthy baby boy.

What’s behind children being cast as witches in Nigeria

The rescue of a two-year-old Nigerian child has attracted extensive social and online media coverage across the world. Abandoned by his family after being accused of being a witch, the boy was saved by an aid worker who found him in Uyo, southeast Nigeria. The boy, known as Hope, is said to have been riddled with worms and had to have daily blood transfusions to be revived.

The unfortunate truth is that Hope is one of only a lucky few who survive the neglect, abuse, and physical and mental health insults that arise from the stigma created by child witch hunting in Nigeria.

Belief in witchcraft is central in Nigeria society – particularly in the Niger Delta region. Researchers have especially focused on my people, the Ibibio of southeastern Nigeria.

Rugged Medical Transport Aims to Reduce Childbirth Deaths in Tanzania

Rugged Medical Transport, a not-for-profit organization developing medical transport in remote areas, announced the launch of its crowdfunding campaign. The campaign is fiscally sponsored by Humanitarian Social Innovations (HSI), a 501c3 nonprofit with a mission to inspire and connect social entrepreneurs with the resources necessary to empower them and to maximize their humanitarian impact.

Rugged Medical Transport has secured its first building site in Tanzania, East Africa, and funds raised will support building gyrocopters to provide medical transportation in rural areas in the African Bush. The campaign has a donation goal of $100,000.

“Nearly 20 percent of women in Tanzania die in child birth. Most deaths are preventable if they could get to a hospital in time,” said Patrick Wensel, executive director of Rugged Medical Transport.

Smart Solar Lighting Takes off First in Rural Africa

Azuri has today announced HomeSmart™, a self-learning capability for its solar home systems. While conventional solar home systems work well in sunny conditions, they often shut off early on cloudy days because they run out of power. HomeSmart uses learning technology to monitor both climatic conditions and historical customer usage patterns to ensure a full night of light, even following cloudy days. This is believed to be the first time that such machine-learning approaches have been used in small domestic solar home systems and marks the next step in intelligent automation.

For grid-connected customers, solar power is a way of saving money. For off-grid customers, it is often the only access households have to electrical power for lighting, phone charging, radio, TV and other essential devices. Without the grid as backup, customers rely solely on the stored power to provide services at night and if that power is insufficient, households are often forced back to solutions such as candles and kerosene lamps.

BRCK’S New Unit Aims to Connect Rural Enterprise

In urban conurbations, we tend to take connectivity for granted, forgetting that in many rural areas, it’s something of a luxury.

Local company BRCK is trying to address this imbalance; its BRCK device is a rugged, portable WiFi hotspot that provides internet access to those in rural areas and it also doubles up as a battery extender.

A new version of the hugely-successful BRCK is currently in development and the device will be targeted mainly at enterprise clients.

UNHCR Begins Relocating Mozambican Asylum-Seekers in Malawi

A major UNHCR-run relocation operation aimed at improving living conditions for nearly 10,000 Mozambican asylum-seekers began in southern Malawi on Friday, the UN Refugee Agency said.

A first group of 81 asylum-seekers left Nsanje district early on Friday (April 15) on two buses to make the 320-kilometre journey to Luwani in the country’s southeast. On arrival, they will stay at a transit centre for up to two days until they are provided with a plot of land, food, shelter materials and household items.

AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Discusses New Initiatives for Advancing Nutrition in Agriculture and Food Systems

Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Her Excellency Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace met with the Director of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, Professor Sandy Thomas at Mövenpick Hotel in Accra, Ghana, ahead of the 12th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, taking place in Accra from 12th to 15th April 2016.

The Global Panel is a London-based international research and policy advocacy organisation that gathers an independent group of influential experts with a commitment to tackling global challenges in food and nutrition security. Commissioner Tumusiime and ten others are members of this Panel.


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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