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Curbing West Africa’s Ebola outbreak
26 March 2014 (IRIN ), As health authorities and aid groups work to contain the spread of Ebola in Guinea which has killed 59 people and infected scores of others since January, suspected cases have emerged in neighbouring Liberia, prompting calls for a regional response.
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.
West Africa scores high in disaster risk
14 March 2014 (IRIN ), Researchers at the Madrid-based humanitarian research non-profit DARA have developed a new methodology, the risk reduction index, that they say could help more countries assess and reduce the risk of natural hazards and disasters. But an assessment using the index, carried out in six West African countries, found pervasive risks and limited capacity to reduce vulnerability.
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.
Patchy progress on NGO accountability in Sierra Leone
4 February 2014 (IRIN ), Since the late 1990s, as the aid sector has matured, agencies around the world have grappled with the challenge of becoming more accountable to their intended beneficiaries. IRIN spoke with aid watchdogs and NGO staff to assess the fruitfulness of these efforts in Sierra Leone, where a weak government has left NGOs with a central role.
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.
Fighting gender-based violence in Sierra Leone
6 November 2013 (IRIN ), The ongoing trial of Sierra Leone’s former Deputy Education Minister Mahmoud Tarawally on rape charges has made headlines and highlighted the prevalence of sexual violence in the country. More than 6,500 incidents of domestic- and gender-based violence were reported in Sierra Leone in the first eight months of 2013, almost as many as in the whole of 2012.
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.
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.
Sierra Leone's polio disabled battle adversity
2 September 2013 (IRIN ), Sierra Leone's civil war famously left tens of thousands maimed, including many whose limbs were amputated. But while war victims received some help, those with other disabilities struggle to survive.
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.
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.
Analysis: Short-term fixes - the bane of West African agriculture
5 July 2013 (IRIN ), Boosting agricultural productivity in the Sahel region is crucial to reduce chronic food insecurity, improve families' nutrition, promote economic growth and help build people's resilience, say experts, but governments still under-fund the sector, as do international donors who favour short-term fixes.
Preparing for floods in West Africa
14 June 2013 (IRIN ), West African and Sahel countries are setting up measures to minimize flood damage as the annual rainy season approaches. The African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD) in a seasonal weather outlook says near-average or above-average rainfall is likely over the western Sahel, which stretches across Mauritania, Senegal and western and central Niger.

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