Top Stories on Rural Africa

Every week, we look at stories making headlines on rural development in Africa.

These stories are not necessarily based on rural locations but are sometimes those that can improve the lives of rural dwellers in Africa directly or indirectly.

Here are some of the top stories on rural Africa that made headlines between for this week!



Beyond Ebola: Why Rural Development Matters In A Time Of Crisis

It is no surprise that the Ebola crisis in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has been capturing headlines for months. Several Ebola fatalities have now been confirmed in Mali as well, which could presage a wider outbreak.

The virus has already sickened at least 14,000 people and claimed more than 5,000 lives in the region. According to the World Health Organization, it is the largest Ebola epidemic ever recorded.

But in this case, focusing intensely on the immediate crisis may blind us to the implications of another, largely untold story. It is a story not just of where we are, but how we got here and where we are headed. And it is a story whose ending remains unwritten.


Community Champion:

Video: Arthur Zang On Bringing Cardiac Medicine To Remote Africa

The fact that Arthur Zang does not have a medical education has not hindered his quest to bring cardiac aid to rural Africa. When he discovered in 2010 that there were only 50 cardiologists serving 20 million people in his home nation of Cameroon, he looked to his background in computer engineering for an answer.

The result is the Cardio Pad, which as Arthur explains in this session at the Every Second Counts Forum, connects patients in desperate need of medical attention to cardiologists over mobile phone networks. The brainchild of the 2014 Rolex Young Laureate for Applied Technology is a simple solution to a complex problem and could revolutionise cardiac care for millions of people across the continent.



Business & Economy

An Inclusive Emerging Economy, With Africa in the Lead

At a time when news about Africa has been dominated by Ebola, it’s worth observing that a highly encouraging change has been quietly spreading across the continent. Over the past five years, the number of Africans — mainly women — who have joined village-based savings and loan associations has soared to more than nine million. These groups are now operating in 40 countries in Africa. Globally, it’s estimated that 10.5 million people are members of formally trained savings groups in about 65 countries. (PDF) The big story about these groups, including their surprising success and emerging importance in development, comes from Africa.

“A giant informal economic system is emerging invisibly,” said Jeffrey Ashe, a micro-finance pioneer and co-author of the book “In Their Own Hands: How Savings Groups Are Revolutionizing Development.”


Poor Countries Must Undergo Economic Transformation To Beat Poverty, Says UN

The world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs) must transform their economies to break a vicious circle of underdevelopment, according to a report from Unctad, the UN’s trade and development arm.

The report – Growth with Structural Transformation: A Post-2015 Development Agenda – says the international community must learn from the “LDC paradox”: most of these countries look certain to fall well short of the millennium development goals (MDGs), which expire next year, despite growth exceeding 7% before 2008, and averaging 5.7% after the 2008 financial crisis.

“LDCs are the battleground on which the post-2015 development agenda will be won or lost. Its success will depend on action by the international community and the LDCs to structurally transform their economies and break the vicious circle of human and economic development that has trapped these countries in poverty,”Unctad said.



South Africa: Limpopo Concerned About Pharmacist Shortage

Limpopo’s Department of Health and Social Development is urging students to study pharmacy to address the shortage of professionals hard felt by rural communities.

According to department spokesperson Macks Lesufi, the province is very concerned about the shortage of pharmacists in provincial clinics and hospitals. Lesufi also blamed the shortage of pharmacists for medication shortages, which he said mostly affected rural clinics.

“We are encouraging students to take health, especially pharmacy, as a career so that we can address challenges we are facing in our communities,” Lesufi said.


Third Nigeria Family Planning Conference: Youths Demand For Inclusion In Policy Making

Youth advocates at the 3rd Nigeria Family Planning Conference have demanded that they should be included in policy making and be allowed to plan their future since they constitute larger percentage of the sexual reproductive age. This was made known at the Youth Plenary Session where discussants stressed that young people make up the Sexual Reproductive age and at such, should be better informed and educated on Family Planning as a way of controlling population.

Read More: | Rural Reporters



Saving Kenya’s Children Born Of Incest

Incest is taboo in this part of Kenya as it is almost everywhere. According to Kenyan laws it is punishable by five years in prison or life imprisonment for sex with a minor.

But for centuries the traditional punishment in many Kenyan communities has been death – and among the Bukusu it is not necessarily of the man or woman involved but of the child born from the forbidden union.

The Bukusu call them “be luswa” meaning “taboo babies”, fearing they will bring curses such as infertility and mental problems.


Limbless Kids Tell Tales Of Loss, Agony And Hope

What makes Medinat Jimoh different from other babies? It is not just in her radiance or the vivacity of her dainty steps, shown in the manner she warmed up to the inviting smile of this reporter, coiling into her extended hands with consummate familiarity. She is three months away to clocking two, yet she has withstood intense pain and anguish that would jolts adult an individual faced with the same circumstance. The story of her limb loss commands sympathy; her arm simply fell out with the towel her body was wrapped with on getting to the hospital. According to her mother Mrs Motunrayo Jimoh, a fashion designer, who resides in Igbo Olomu, a hinterland in Ikorodu, Lagos State, she noticed some days after Medinat’s naming ceremony that she couldn’t wriggle her right hand the way infants are wont to do when they cry to get attention.

Read More: | Rural Reporters


World News

FAO Director-General Stresses Link Between Rural Development And Migration

Migration of young people – particularly young men – away from rural areas has left behind lopsided community structures that have also placed a disproportionate burden on women who stay behind to take care of children and the elderly, he said.

The creation of meaningful and inclusive opportunities for youth in agriculture and agribusinesses will not only impact their lives, but substantially improve livelihoods in their rural communities, the economies and the resilience of their home countries, the region and the world, according to the FAO Director-General.

Special attention needs to be paid to climate change, environmental degradation, and scarcity of land and water in regional cooperation, he added.



Life Is Colorful In Rural Rwanda

This week, we are in Africa. Rwanda is a very beautiful country because of its climate and vegetation. Everywhere is lush and green in this country. The average temperature is 22 degrees Celsius all year round and it does not reach 35 degrees even during the hottest time of the year.


Uncovering Tanzania’s Natural Wonders

Tour operators have recognized Tanzania as Africa’s up-and-coming destination for 2015. The country is perceived as a safe destination by most U.S. travelers, which makes it an attractive holiday choice.

Tanzania has always been best known for the Mount Kilimanjaro summit and the tropical beaches of Zanzibar. Also, the Serengeti Plains with its prolific wildlife and the natural wonder of Ngorongoro are major draws for travelers from around the globe.

Although these attractions offer unforgettable experiences, they are all situated in the north of Tanzania, a part of the country that tends to get quite crowded. It is unlikely you’ll be able to view the Ngorongoro Crater, one of the great natural wonders of the world, or witness the popular annual migration without many other travelers to keep you company. As a result of the overwhelming interest for these sites, prices can be quite steep.


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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