A ferry leaves the port in Mwanza to one of the rural island communities [Photograph: Oluwabusayo Sotunde/RuralReporters.com]

Rural Hamlet, Growth Programme 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:


Kenya’s rural towns becoming new frontier for real estate developers

On one side of the rural town named Majengo in Vihiga, Western Kenya, stands a two-story building that is nearing completion. Few metres away from the house is another three-story one, which is hosting several small businesses, including mobile money agency shops.

Away from the two commercial buildings, several others, including residential ones, stand in the small trading center, a sign of real estate boom that is happening in many rural towns across the East African nation.

Rural hamlet marks role in slave trade

The hamlet of Kanga Gnianze is absent from many maps of Ivory Coast, but the rural community attracted stars and scholars this week to mark its place in the sorry memory of slavery.

Clad all in white, France’s most capped former football hero Lilian Thuram marched between two rows of men in red scarves and warrior garb, armed with clubs. At the end of the line, a medicine man waited.

Ghana’s Northern Rural Growth Programme Is Transforming Agriculture

Since 2005, Ghana continues to show steady improvements in economic growth of over 7% per year on average, making it the first African country to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. However, as growth has accelerated the disparities between the Northern and Southern broad regions, in terms of economic development, becomes clearer. To tackle poverty in Northern Ghana, the country relies heavily on inclusive agricultural growth in the rural areas which contribute to equitable and sustainable poverty reduction and food security in the country. That was the objective of the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP), jointly funded by the African Development Fund (ADF) the concessional arm of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Fund Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the Government of Ghana.

ONE Campaign’s warning bell on Nigeria’s health sector

Nigeria’s health care system can bring you joy and anxiety in equal measure. The ideas on the table about revamp of the sector and the dreary leadership impeding progress are things of joy and anxiety. According to ONE, Nigeria will continue to lose millions of lives to basic illnesses like malaria, diarrhoea and Lassa fever because of poor funding of its health care system, especially primary health care in rural areas.

Securitising Africa’s borders is bad for migrants, democracy, and development

South Africa’s National Assembly recently passed a bill to set up a new border management agency. The Border Management Authority will fall under Home Affairs, a government department long distinguished by its lack of respect for immigrant and refugee rights. But there are other, deeper causes for concern.

Whereas previously, police and customs officers were under strict (if not always effective) civilian oversight, this new agency will be able to circumvent constitutional constraints. Broader changes to immigration and asylum policies are also in the works, such as a “risk-based” vetting system that could be used to justify barring most people from entering the country overland. Bolstering these efforts are plans to detain asylum seekers at processing centres dotted along the border.

The impact of solar lighting in rural Kenya

Solar lanterns could replace kerosene lighting, which is still used by an estimated 500 million households. The emissions of kerosene lights contribute to global warming and to severe indoor air pollution. Moreover, kerosene lamps typically provide low-quality lighting, at around 10 lumens, while for example a standard LED lamp provides around 500 lumens. On the other hand, solar lanterns only provide minimal access to energy: they can’t power radios, TVs, fridges, or other appliances people may aspire to own as they become wealthier.

Whereas researchers agree that access to grid energy is important for economic growth, there is only scarce empirical evidence of the impact that off-grid energy access has on poverty. That’s why we conducted a policy field experiment in Kenya in collaboration with several policy partners. We analyzed the demand, use and effects of small portable solar lights, combining survey data with sensor data developed by the ETH spinoff Bonsai Systems.

Africa: Data Shows G20 Still Mostly Talk, Little Action, When It Comes to Energy Poverty

A data analysis by sector and project reveals that leading aid donors among the G20 members are not yet doing what they promised.

Eight of the top aid donors among G20 members (US, Germany, European Commission, France, Italy, UK, Japan, and China) contributed an estimated $122 billion in total foreign aid in 2016. In comparison, only $2.7 billion is estimated to have been spent on clean energy production and support in 2015; support for DRE solutions (also sometimes referred to as “off-grid” clean energy), specifically, is even smaller at an estimated $705 million.

In comparison, $1.1 billion of aid was earmarked for fossil-fuel based energy generation in 2015.


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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