Rural Africa: Top Gist Of the Week  


Every week, we look at stories making headlines on rural development in Africa. These stories are not necessarily based on rural locations but are sometimes those that can improve the lives of rural dwellers in Africa directly or indirectly.

Here are the top stories from the previous week.



Manufacturing Pharmaceuticals In Africa – The Untapped Opportunity That Could Save Countless Lives

Ever since the high tech generic drug production facility, Cinpharm-Cameroon, was set up, it is relatively easier for Cameroonians to have access to medicines. Now a low wage earner can access a course of antibiotics at a lower price than a Kenyan counterpart.

According to the World Health Organization, a 7-day course of treatment with the antibiotic ciprofloxacin could cost in Kenya close to a month’s wages. Unfortunately, this scenario is not uncommon across Africa.  In Uganda, it could cost about 11 days of a household income to purchase a single course of artemisinin-combination therapy used to treat malaria for an under five-year-old child.

Read More at Mail and Guardian Africa


Rethinking the Role of Mining in South Africa – Nothing Changes Until Something Big Happens

Poor rural communities throughout Southern Africa carry the burden of these externalised costs, especially the occupational lung disease, silicosis. Perhaps the most tragic part of it all is that these diseases could have been prevented if proper health and safety standards were instituted, such as kitting out mine workers with proper clothing and taking other preventative measures.

All of this happens against the backdrop of the recently released Mbeki report on illicit financial flows from Africa over the last few decades.

Read more here:



More than half of Zimbabwe adults earn $100

More than half of the adult population in Zimbabwe earn less than $100 per month as economic challenges persist in the country, a survey has shown.

The Finscope Consumer Survey Zimbabwe 2014 shows that access to social services such as water decreased in 2014 to 29% from 35% in 2011.

Improvements have however been noted on the education front where the percentage of those with no education decreased to 3% from 7%.

“On the other hand, 44% of the population had to skip a meal because of lack of money for food in 2014 compared to 29% in 2011. There has also been an increase in those unable to attend school due to lack of fees from 25% to 36% in 2014.The study shows that 65% of the adult population earns $100 or less per month,” the survey also showed.

Financial inclusion in Zimbabwe rose to 77% in 2014 from 60% in 2011, the study revealed.

Source: News Day Zimbabwe


Africycle: Making Malawians Mobile

The bicycle is a primary mode of transportation for 80 percent of people in Malawi. Vos told DW his visit to Malawi made him grab “the opportunity to take bikes that sit around in Canada and make a useful tool for families in Malawi.” The process of moving bikes from Canada to Malawi, however, wasn’t so easy.

“It was challenging and to tell you the truth, it is still challenging at times. There are different delays at ports, we had to work with different agencies and shippers and here in Malawi we still have problems with logistics companies but we always manage to navigate through them,” he said.

Africycle is a charity project which came into being after its executive director, Ben Vos, a Canadian national, travelled to Malawi in 2005 and experienced at first hand the growing demand for bikes. He realized that there was a need for quality bicycles in the country to alleviate the transport challenge in rural areas.

Read more here


Albinos ‘hunted like animals’ for body parts in Malawi

A lucrative black market exists for the body parts of albinos, who are believed by some to possess magical powers that can bring good luck. But as police in Tanzania crack down on the grisly trade, activists in neighbouring Malawi say attacks have spiked.

Albinos are living in fear of being killed in Malawi, where their body parts are increasingly being sold for use in traditional rituals that promise to deliver wealth and power.

Read More at New24


How Text Messaging Gives Voice To Marginalized Communities

Communications technology has changed the development landscape. Developing countries now account for three quarters of the 7 billion cellphone subscribers worldwide, with mobile telecommunications systems increasingly able to reach even the most remote communities.

Whether it’s the use of mobile money systems to provide cash transfers to refugees in Rwanda or the transmission of local weather forecasts by text message to farmers in Malawi, development agencies are tapping into the potential of low-cost technology platforms to complement service delivery and promote innovative solutions to local issues.

“Access to technology can be transformatively empowering for local communities. … Technology has the potential to disrupt existing power structures, rewriting relationships both within a community and outside it,” reads the European Interagency Security Forum’s recent report on communications technology and humanitarian delivery.

Click here to read more


Community Champion


The 23-Year-Old Savior Of Cameroon’s Mothers

Like many 23-year-olds, Alain Nteff has big dreams.

What sets him apart from most, however, is what he’s actually trying to achieve: wiping out maternal mortality.

The Cameroonian entrepreneur is the co-founder of Gifted Mom, a mobile health platform that uses low-cost technology to help mothers and pregnant women access medical advice in out-of-the-way, rural communities.

His invention landed him an invitation to the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, where he was one of this year’s Global Shapers, a group of 20 to 30-year-olds who are tipped for future leadership roles. He was also the youngest participant.

Read more on CNN



Africa: A Map of Hunger in 2015 – Where to Watch

Food shortages are often portrayed as random – the result of freak weather conditions or short-term political crises. Yet they are often deeply predictable – while short-term trends can exaggerate the impact, most of the causes are structural.

Last week the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS Net) released its latest forward-looking analysis of food needs in key countries. The data track not just which countries are likely to have food shortages this year but when they are likely to occur.

IRIN’s interactive map highlights countries that are particularly prone to crisis. Click on a country to see how many people are at risk, the level of crisis and when the potential lean season is.

See the map here.

Click here for more on the gist


Can a New Strategy Redeem the Rural Electrification Project?

For four years now, Godfrey Okello, a resident of Abim district in Karamoja, has lived within 300 metres of a grid electricity line but does not enjoy the utility which was threaded to the largely underdeveloped sub-region at great cost.

Okello, a member of the Abim district local council, says he applied for his house to get connected immediately authorities started receiving the applications – even before the rural electrification power lines had reached Abim. To this day, the wait continues.

“They have been telling us to wait. We have been waiting. We have even failed to understand what is happening,” laments Okello

Read more here


Food Security

Ebola-Ravaged Rural Communities In Guinea To Benefit From New Food Security Initiatives

Tens of thousands of people in rural areas of Guinea worst-hit by the Ebola epidemic will receive training on how to prevent the spread of the disease and support in producing food and generating income, through an agreement involving the World Bank, the country’s government, and FAO.

As part of the initiative, $5 million will be invested in FAO’s Ebola Response Programme which aims to assist rural households whose livelihoods and access to food are severely threatened by the impact of Ebola.

“The funding is a much needed contribution towards building the resilience of communities whose already precarious situation of chronic food insecurity has been exacerbated by Ebola-related disruptions to farm labour, agricultural production and food markets,” said Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General/Regional Representative for Africa.

Read more here




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 She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde

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