Top Pick: Rural Africa Weekly Report



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 tour top updates from the previous week.


Lagos: Life By The Railway In Pictures

Every day, hundreds of people – young and old –hurry to board the train in order to beat the hectic traffic in Lagos. Then you spot them- either sitting inside the train, on top of the train, or hanging by the railings… all that matters is that they beat the train schedule and arrive at their destination, safely. But the thrust of this photo report is not about the life of train commuters but the life that exists at the rail line.


Maternal Health And Access To SRHR In Kenya

When assessing the progress made and achievements realized with the implementation of the MDGs, one thing is clear, as we strive to catch up with the MDG momentum, maternal health is not one of those achievements. MDG target 5b has not been met in many countries, according to UNFPA, Kenya’s maternal mortality rate remains at 488 per 100,000 live births. Maternal mortality in Africa remains unacceptably and unnecessarily high. This however is said cognizant of the fact that there is no necessary maternal mortality. In the 15 years of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), only a few countries in Africa have made notable gains in reducing maternal mortality – currently standing at 510 deaths per 100,000 live births. Question begs, despite the trending phrase, No woman should die while giving life, why are we still counting so many deaths of women, whose only fault is getting pregnant and desire to raise a child?


Zambia’s Eastern Province Schools Help Girls Stay in School Through WASH

Schools can carry on the labor of educating, but without the auxiliary services such as clean latrines, the challenges of poor attendance will not be fully addressed. The bottom line for rural schools such as those in Mambwe is the need to expand sanitation through more latrines and hand-washing as well as access to clean water through local boreholes for water.


Euromonitor: Electricity shortages in sub-Saharan Africa a key concern

Strong economic growth and a rising middle class are driving investments into sub-Saharan Africa, although infrastructure and electricity shortages are “key concerns”.

This is according to Euromonitor International’s head of strategic, economic and consumer insight research, Sarah Boumphrey.

The market research firm said it expected five of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world this year to be in sub-Saharan Africa, which should attract more investors. But Ms Boumphrey said that energy shortages presented a challenge.

“Overcoming a reliance on (electricity) imports and improving generating capacity is crucial for economic growth,” Ms Boumphrey said.


Research: Simple Treatments Can Help Save the Lives of Babies Without Access to Hospital Care

New evidence shows that treating severe infections closer to home with fewer antibiotic injections could save lives by increasing access to care when hospitalisation is not possible.

Simple antibiotic regimens for newborns with severe infections – such as pneumonia and sepsis – in lower income countries is as effective as the standard course of twice daily injections and hospitalization over the course of a week, a research conducted in Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya, and Democratic Republic of Congo revealed.

Kenya: Weather Broadcast Boosts Farming

Down the slope, 80-year-old Mariam Omulama is holding a blue radio with a long aerial. The radio has a winding handle to power it, and a solar panel to charge the built-in battery. She is tuned to Anyole 101.2 Fm – Ombogo’s station.

Nganyi RANET – it stands for “Radio Internet” – is a community radio station set up by the Kenya Meteorological Service to target communities particularly vulnerable to climate extremes. Each station can broadcast in a range of 25-30 kilometres (15-19 miles), and listeners within the zone are given free radio sets.


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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