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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.
Crop-eating pests plague southern African farmers
7 February 2014 (IRIN ), The rainy season, always welcome in often dry southern Africa, has brought with it favourable breeding conditions for army worms and red locusts. The crop-eating pests are contributing to the woes of subsistence farmers already struggling to recover from setbacks in the last farming cycle.
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.
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.
Pregnant, positive and on HIV treatment for life
5 December 2013 (IRIN ), In theory, protecting babies from HIV infection has become relatively simple: a process involving drugs for the woman before she gives birth and then for the baby after birth. But not in Lesotho, where poor health and transport infrastructure have meant that HIV-positive people living in remote mountain regions are often the last to receive care and treatment; doctors and nurses are in short supply; and almost a quarter of the population lives with HIV.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dry winter spells bad news for Lesotho's farmers
15 August 2013 (IRIN ), On a windy day in Thaba-Bosiu, 40km from Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, Nkoliopa Mosotho is inspecting his parched fields. Like many other rural farmers in Lesotho, he was banking on winter snowfall to soften the iron-hard ground and allow him to plough, but none fell.
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.
Our Lives - looking up
2 July 2013 (IRIN ), Late last year, IRIN launched the series Our Lives, which interviewed 20 men and women in 10 countries about how they coped with the cost of living. Those testimonies have been updated, along with basic monthly income and expenditure data, providing a fascinating insight into people’s domestic affairs.
Moloantoa Mokhomphatha – Builder, Lesotho (June 2013)
2 July 2013 (IRIN ), Despite having no regular income throughout 2012, Moloantoa Mokhomphatha is finally making headway in his construction business in Machache, a rural community 45km from Lesotho’s capital, Maseru. He attributes his change in fortunes to the relatively good farming season, which has left people with more money to spare on building projects.
‘Mammuso Lebakeng – Crafts trader, Lesotho (June 2013)
1 July 2013 (IRIN ), ‘Mammuso Lebakeng is still optimistic about her crafts business in Maseru, Lesotho’s capital. Although tourism to Lesotho is down, more locals are now buying her goods. Still, business remains unpredictable, and she is not expecting a good harvest from her three hectares of maize.
Digital jobs offer skills, promise to Africa's unemployed youth
28 May 2013 (IRIN ), Although Africa’s economy has expanded rapidly in recent years, it has not kept pace with the growth of its youth population or their need for jobs.
Fishing for jobs in Lesotho
27 March 2013 (IRIN ), Tsotleho Befole, 24, travelled from the Lesotho highlands village of Hasephapo-Taunyane to neighbouring South Africa twice in the past year, searching for work in the mines. Both times it proved a wasted journey.
Mixed picture for Lesotho's food security
25 March 2013 (IRIN ), It’s a chilly autumn morning and Ntja Mphale, 62, and his wife, Malehlohonolo, are hoeing a dew-covered field just outside their village of Machache, 43km from Lesotho’s capital, Maseru. They are among thousands of unemployed Basotho who depend on seasonal work weeding smallholder farmers’ fields to earn a little cash.
Southern Africa cracks down on TB in mines
25 March 2013 (IRIN ), South Africa's gold mines are estimated to have the highest number of new tuberculosis (TB) cases in the world, making the disease a leading export to neighbouring countries. IRIN takes a look at the declaration meant to change this situation.

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