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New thinking needed on food aid for refugees in Africa
7 July 2014 (IRIN ), The World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have launched an urgent appeal to address a funding shortfall that has already resulted in food ration cuts for a third of all African refugees. As of mid-June, nearly 800,000 refugees in 22 African countries have seen their monthly food allocations reduced, most of them by more than half.
Genome breakthrough could help fight against sleeping sickness
28 May 2014 (IRIN ), Scientists have welcomed the development of genome sequence data on the tsetse fly, the vector responsible for the transmission of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), commonly known as sleeping sickness. They say it could be instrumental in devising strategies to eradicate the fly and reduce deaths and the spread of other diseases associated with it.
Melding science and tradition to tackle climate change
23 May 2014 (IRIN ), In the latest of several partnerships between tradition and modern science aimed at improving resilience to climate change, pastoralists and meteorologists in Tanzania are working together to produce weather forecasts better suited to farmers.
Remittance rip-offs
22 April 2014 (IRIN ), All over the world migrant workers are sending money home to their families. The money pays hospital bills and school fees, buys land, builds houses and sets up small businesses. The cash goes from the US back to Mexico, from the Gulf back to India, from the UK back to Somalia, and from South Africa back to Malawi, Zimbabwe and the rest of southern Africa.
Trading away West Africa’s hunger
20 March 2014 (IRIN ), Severe food shortages in the Sahel and West Africa are often the result of droughts and poor harvests. But inefficient intra-regional trade also places significant strain on food availability, exacerbating hunger.
Breaking the cycle of youth unemployment, poverty
10 February 2014 (IRIN ), Youth unemployment and underemployment are among the main barriers to development in West Africa, say experts. Not only does the exclusion of young people from the labour force perpetuate generational cycles of poverty, it also breaks down social cohesion and can be associated with higher levels of crime and violence among idle youth.
Helping Africa’s urban poor gain from modernization
4 February 2014 (IRIN ), Plans to reshape and modernize African cities, in part driven by investment, architecture and construction companies seeking new markets, could deepen existing social inequalities, according to recent research. But these development plans could also benefit the poor if governments are responsive to the needs of their citizens, argue analysts.
West Africa: West African livelihoods weakened by graft
3 January 2014 (IRIN ), Poor public services in many West African countries, with already dire human development indicators, are under constant pressure from pervasive corruption. Observers say graft is corroding proper governance and causing growing numbers of people to sink into poverty
Life-saving hepatitis C drug approved, but cost is high
23 December 2013 (IRIN ), Following approvals in the US and Europe this month of a new drug to treat hepatitis C, activists are pushing for the medication to be made available in poor countries.
Is Africa ready for GM?
27 November 2013 (IRIN ), Even as food insecurity continues to afflict impoverished and disaster-affected populations around the continent, African policymakers and consumers remain deeply divided over the potential harms and benefits of genetically modified (GM) foods, which advocates say could greatly improve yields and nutrition.
Senegal on the frontline of the battle with Big Tobacco
19 November 2013 (IRIN ), Djité Sekou, 32, smokes as he passes his nights guarding one of the many high-rise apartment buildings in Dakar, Senegal. It has been eight years since his first cigarette - a Monte Carlo from Morocco - and when money is available he goes through 20 to 30 per day. It is an addiction that can cost him up to a quarter of his monthly income.
Gambia - living in fear
8 October 2013 (IRIN ), Human rights organizations have repeatedly denounced the Gambian regime for forced disappearances, illegal detention, denial of due process, and the abuse and harassment of critics. Yet little progress has been achieved, and local activists are seeing their ability to act recede.
Analysis: Behind China’s aid structure
17 September 2013 (IRIN ), China’s role as an aid donor has been met with wariness, both from aid experts and recipients. Confusion over the nature of China’s aid arises because the country uses multiple ministries and agencies to give money, has different strategic priorities than traditional Western donors, and does not release detailed reports about how much aid it provides.
West Africa flood round-up
17 September 2013 (IRIN ), Floods have killed 84 people, displaced 40,445 and affected 323,396 in West Africa this year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), while 34,000 hectares of agricultural land has been damaged. Guinea, Sierra Leone, western Mali and parts of southern Senegal have been the most affected.
Analysis: Untangling China's aid to Africa
17 September 2013 (IRIN ), This year, the two most powerful men on the globe, presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping, both embarked on Africa tours, pledging to increase aid and investment and work with the continent to improve development.
Rethinking mental health in Africa
2 September 2013 (IRIN ), As African countries strive to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and plot a new development agenda thereafter, health experts are gathering evidence across the continent to make a case for a greater focus on its millions of mentally ill.
Curbing deadly bovine disease faces hurdles in Sahel
8 August 2013 (IRIN ), Long eradicated in developed countries, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) - a highly infectious respiratory disease - remains a huge threat to cattle production in the Sahel and West Africa, where cross-border migration by pastoralists is customary.
West Africa cholera down but officials vigilant
24 July 2013 (IRIN ), Some 1,700 people in West Africa have contracted cholera since mid-June, showing a significant decline compared to the same seven-week period in 2012 when 11,834 were affected.
African governments still underfunding health
23 July 2013 (IRIN ), Twelve years after African governments pledged in the Abuja Declaration to allocate at least 15 percent of their annual budgets to healthcare by 2015, just six countries have met this goal.
Countering Africa’s green revolution
8 July 2013 (IRIN ), Civil society groups are taking on the policies of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which promotes the use of genetically modified (GM) crops and Green Revolution technologies.

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