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MAURITANIA  

Remittance rip-offs

LONDON, 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. full report

Trading away West Africa’s hunger

DAKAR, 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. full report

West Africa scores high in disaster risk

DAKAR, 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. full report

Mauritania fertile ground for Arab donors

GORGOL/BRAKNA, 17 February 2014 (IRIN) - Drought-prone, chronically hungry Mauritania, with the help of the UN, is reaching out to Arab donors, encouraging them to reach beyond their customary role in development and engage in humanitarian response. full report

Time to rekindle Timbuktu's flame

TIMBUKTU, 12 February 2014 (IRIN) - The ‘Flamme de la Paix’ monument lies on the northwestern outskirts of Timbukutu, Mali. There, on 27 March 1996, hundreds of weapons were symbolically destroyed, and representatives from the Malian government and Tuareg rebel movements promised to promote peace and reconciliation in a region wracked by bitter conflict. full report

Breaking the cycle of youth unemployment, poverty

DAKAR, 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. full report

Helping Africa’s urban poor gain from modernization

NAIROBI, 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. full report

UN shifts approach to help Sahel’s 20 million hungry

DAKAR, 3 February 2014 (IRIN) - Over 20 million people in the Sahel will need humanitarian assistance in 2014, up 8.7 million over the number of people in need in 2013, estimates the UN, which launched an ambitious three-year Sahel strategy today. full report

Arab Spring complicates shifting demands in health sector

LONDON, 30 January 2014 (IRIN) - Healthcare needs are changing in the Arab world, and chronic diseases linked to rising prosperity and aging populations are forcing health services to retool, even as the region grapples with political turmoil and uncertainty. full report

Rural exodus disrupts social order in Mauritania

MEZEIN TERCHITT/NOUAKCHOTT, 16 January 2014 (IRIN) - For decades in the Sahel, working-age men have left their rural villages to find work in regional towns or capital cities, returning to plant or harvest crops when possible. Mauritania is no exception, but the phenomenon is particularly pronounced here, say several aid agencies, with village after village devoid of working-age men, a dynamic that is starting to have other social implications. full report

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