Rural Africa Weekly Report:  AIDS Treatment Gain Ground in Rural South Africa and Other Reports

Every week, Rural Reporters collate 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:

 

Africa Falling Behind On Fight Against Child Marriage

As the populations of many African countries boom and governments struggle to implement effective social policies, child marriage is expected to increase dramatically across much of the continent over the next 35 years according to a new UNICEF report.

The report, released at the start of the African Union Girls Summit in Zambia on Thursday, predicts that without significant shifts in policy, the number of child brides in Africa will increase from 125 million to 310 million by 2050.

Researchers found that while some countries had made improvements in reducing the rates of child marriage, others seemed to be losing their grip on the issue. Progress seems to be follow economic development, with richer populations greatly reducing the number of child marriages while among poorer populations the prevalence of the practice has remained largely unchanged or increased.

In Rural South Africa, AIDS Treatment Gains Ground – But So Do Infections
When HIV-positive patients first came to seek treatment at the rural Uthungulu district health clinic in South Africa’s eastern KwaZulu-Natal province in 1998, their records were kept in brown folders, the colour designated for the disease.

In a country where the stigma of carrying the virus that causes AIDS runs high and many people keep their status a secret, that folder – held by a nurse calling out a patient in a crowded waiting room – was a major disincentive to seeking help.

U.N. Says Chinese-Style Rural Reforms Can Cut African Migration

The world’s poorest countries can stem migration by emulating China‘s rural reforms, and should ditch any get-rich-quick ideas about exposing their farmers to the glare of the global market, the U.N. economic agency UNCTAD said on Wednesday.

Taffere Tesfachew, head of the Least Developed Countries division at UNCTAD, said China’s rural reforms had twinned privatisation with promoting the emergence of non-farm enterprises in rural areas.

But that was not happening in many African economies today because countries were failing to develop non-farming rural enterprises, and as farm productivity increased people were being forced to move away because of lack of jobs.

Depleted Soil Locks Rural Farmers In Trap Of Ultra-Poverty

One of the thorniest questions in economic development is why sub-Saharan Africa is home to most of the world’s extreme poor, who suffer from persistent, grinding poverty that can last for generations.

One answer is a grim cycle in which depleted soils bury rural farmers in deep poverty and keep them there, say Cornell researchers.

“We all take dirt for granted,” said Chris Barrett, professor and director of Cornell’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. “As folks talk about development strategies, you don’t often hear them talking about the importance of maintaining or rehabilitating soils on which rural poor people’s livelihoods depend.” 

Private Sector Urged To Venture Into Rural LPG Programme

Government has urged the private sector to position itself in order to take over running the rural LPG promotion programme, as it takes steps to put in place all necessary mechanisms to make the programme a worthwhile venture for the private sector.

Under the rural LPG programme, the government distributes free cylinders, cook stoves and all related accessories to beneficiaries in low access and low-income areas of districts across the country. It was launched in 2013 by the Petroleum Ministry to accelerate the use of LPG in rural communities.

 

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