Rural Africa Weekly Report: Unemployment, the Working Poor and Other Reports

Every week, Rural Reporters collates a  report on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports include are some of our top picks of recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles to help you keep on top of global crises. Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week.


How High Unemployment Has Eclipsed The Plight Of SAs Working Poor

The numbers are shocking. Since 2006, more than one-fifth of South Africa’s total workforce has been living in households that are not able to meet their basic minimum food and non-food requirements. This is according to Statistics South Africa’s official upper-bound poverty line.

This was a slight improvement on the 2004 figures, where about 29% of all workers – formal and informal – were “poor”, according to our calculations from the General Household Surveys.

The bad news is that not much progress has been made since 2006. By 2012, working poverty decreased further to 21% (own calculations), but the decrease was not statistically significant if the survey margin of error is included.

The Power, Politics And Profit Of Small-Scale Farming

Kanayo Nwanze, president of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development says that African farms are only performing at 40% of their potential and that simple measures such as improved seeds, irrigation and fertiliser could triple productivity, triggering transformational growth. New technologies and multinational involvement could be crucial in driving this ambition, Nwanze says, but insists any transformation needs to be democratic and driven by small-scale farmers themselves.

“I have often said that Africa’s development must be made in Africa, by Africans, for Africans,” he says. “Change cannot be imposed from the outside, it must be cultivated from within.”

UN – Nigeria Has Highest Number of IDPs Worldwide

The United Nations Country Representative, Mr. Dauda Toure, has said Nigeria has the highest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the world numbering 1.5 million. Toure, who stated this yesterday in Abuja while giving his goodwill message to commemorate the 2015 World Humanitarian Day organised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), noted that a major problem for the victims was lack of access to them, most of whom are not in camps but in host communities.

Why Cultism Persists in Schools

Universities, colleges of education and polytechnics were peaceful in the past until cult members invaded their premises forcing innocent students to live in fear. Cultists cajole and initiate students on daily basis; the menace is there even in post-primary schools.

Secret cultism is usually practiced by a group of individuals sharing certain objectives and beliefs and bound by oaths with the sole aim of promoting the group’s self-interest to the detriment of others.

The major challenges facing tertiary institutions in Nigeria today include the violent behaviour of cult members and cult-related activities. Cultism often leads to killing and destruction of property.

Zimbabwe: ‘Teach Sign Language in Schools

A communication barrier between a Harare doctor and a patient a few years ago led to the tragic death of the patient, Tafara Mago, at the age of 21 and his parents have not come to terms with their loss. Mago, who was born with hearing and speech impairments, tried using improvised sign language to explain the nature of his illness while the doctor, who had no knowledge of sign language, could only guess what Mago was saying.

The result was a wrong diagnosis and wrong prescription, leading to the death of the patient, according to Mago’s parents.

“Tafara fell sick and we took him to a doctor for consultation but the doctor wrongly diagnosed and gave him a wrong prescription which led to his death,” said Tafara’s father.


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

Subscribe to our mailing list