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Refugees, returnees from Nigeria strain Niger host population

DAKAR, 23 April 2014 (IRIN) - There are now more returnees and refugees in Niger’s southeastern region of Diffa near the border with Nigeria than there are Malian refugees in western Niger, straining host populations who are already some of the poorest people in the world, and the local authorities. full report

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

Humanitarian response gap grows in northern Nigeria

KANO, 14 March 2014 (IRIN) - Humanitarian needs are mounting in northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram attacks have displaced 350,000 people since 2013, 290,000 of them internally; the rest are sheltering in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. But the national response is inadequate and the international response minimal due to access hurdles and political sensitivities. full report

Niger’s black market pesticides backfire

MARADI/KANO, 14 March 2014 (IRIN) - Farmers in Niger are using dangerous, black market pesticides in unregulated quantities, with little impact on agricultural yield but with potentially severe health consequences, say experts. full report

Under chronic stress, Niger farmers are losing ground

MARADI/DIFFA, 3 March 2014 (IRIN) - Farmers in drought-ridden parts of Niger are facing a dangerous combination of stresses - chronic drought, land degradation, pests and poor seeds - which threaten to throw them even deeper into hunger and poverty. full report

Niger's "remarkable" progress in reducing child deaths

NIAMEY/DAKAR, 27 February 2014 (IRIN) - Niger has made remarkable progress in cutting under-five mortality over the past decade, and it looks set to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on reducing child mortality rates by two-thirds by 2015. But high maternal mortality, skyrocketing population growth and low government capacity are still impeding progress, say partners and health practitioners. 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

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