Rural Reporters Top Weekly Report: Trends in Rural Africa

It’s the beginning of a new week and as part of our tradition, Rural Reporters collates a weekly 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 top updates from the previous week.

Food Worries Widen In Mauritania

Hundreds of thousands of Mauritanians are struggling to feed themselves as they fall victim to the effects of climate change.

A chronically hungry country, Mauritania could see the availability of food drop to its lowest level in years if drought continues to ravage crops, livestock and livelihoods.

An estimated 1.3 million people will face food insecurity this year, according to the latest assessment by the UN-backed Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).  Among them, nearly half a million people are expected to fall into severe food insecurity by June and be “unable to meet their food needs without external assistance.” Around 21,000 will suffer extreme food insecurity, or a near complete depletion of their livelihoods.


How To Tackle Poverty By Planting Trees

Trees aren’t just for hugging and hippies. Planting trees can have a radical impact on the lives of the poor.

In Tanzania, Christian charity Plant With Purpose uses trees to restore the environment of the rural poor, and so improve people’s lives and health. Here’s five ways they do that:

  1. Produce food
  2. Look after the soil
  3. Provide water
  4. Used for cooking
  5. Source of income

Namibia: Rural Namibia Is a Burial Site

The story of rural development, or lack of it, starts in the cities. The young (mostly men) hanging around street corners in our cities and towns under the scorching sun looking for a piece job, the shanty towns and informal settlements and all the squalor and poverty that go with these point to something that has badly gone wrong somewhere – the countryside.

Are the rural areas in Namibia then in varying stages of neglect and decay and thus centres of out-migration? Not so, according to former President Hifikupunye Pohamba. At that time he spoke in glowing terms about the centrality of rural development saying “rural development remains the top priority on the development agenda of the government”.

Merck Opens Telehealth Clinics for Patients in Rural Africa Areas

Merck in partnership with Kenya Ministry of Health, kicked off their first telehealth clinics at both of Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi and Machacos Hospital as a part of their e-health initiative in Africa. Merck e-health is a new initiative of Merck’s 5 year Capacity Advancement Program (CAP).

Merck’s telehealth clinics will allow patients and healthcare providers in remote areas through using the power of IP and video conferencing to interact with Cancer specialists at Kenyatta Hospital, the largest national referral and teaching hospital in Kenya in order to extend the reach of healthcare into remote areas.

Netherlands Hope €50m Will Keep Africans In Africa

The Netherlands is investing 50 million euros in the development of the African economy. The intention is that this money will improve employment in North African countries and stop local young people from risking their lives by fleeing to Europe by boat. This investment also forms part of the coalition’s deal on what to do with failed asylum seekers.


RnB Singer Akon To Create Solar Academy

Akon Lighting Africa, the creation of a solar academy in Bamako, Mali will help beef up Africa’s solar workforce.

Akon Lighting Africa founders Akon, Thione Niang and Samba Bathily say the facility will be the first on the continent to cater to African solar entrepreneurs, engineers and technicians.

“We are doing more than just investing in clean energy. We are investing in human capital,” said Samba Bathily. “We can achieve great milestones and accelerate the African transformation process on condition that we start training a new generation of highly qualified African engineers, technicians and entrepreneurs now.”

Report: Poorest Countries Neglected By Foreign Aid Donors

The world’s poorest nations, the bulk of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, are receiving less than a third of development aid, and this support is waning, a non-governmental organisation founded by U2 frontman Bono said on Tuesday.

World leaders should target the most disadvantaged nations when they adopt a new set of goals to eradicate extreme poverty this September, the advocacy group ONE said in a statement.

“We won’t see an end to extreme poverty unless leaders shift focus to the poorest countries and poorest people, especially girls and women,” said ONE’s global policy director Eloise Todd in a statement on the publication of the report entitled: “Putting the Poorest First.”

Number of African Countries Facing Severe Food Shortages Doubles

Violence, natural disasters and extreme weather conditions have impeded progress, U.N. agencies say.

The number of African countries facing severe food shortages has doubled over the past two decades, as extreme weather conditions, natural disasters and insurgencies disrupt farming across the continent, aid agencies said on Thursday.

As many as 24 countries are contending with food crises across sub-Saharan Africa, twice as many as in 1990, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Program said in a report.

The report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015, said East and Central Africa are most affected, with more than 30% of the people in the two regions classified as undernourished.


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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