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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

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

Brute force fails to break Boko Haram

ABUJA, 19 February 2014 (IRIN) - Hoping to snuff out Boko Haram, Nigerian forces launched a crackdown in May 2013, swooping into towns, rounding up hundreds of youths and strafing suspected hideouts of the militia, who, despite being pushed back, continue to torment civilians and target security forces. full report

Lingering hardship after Nigeria floods

IBAJI, 14 February 2014 (IRIN) - Residents displaced by the 2012 deluge in Nigeria’s Kogi State have by now returned to their villages, where the lingering destruction and scarcity of food have increased hardship. But the struggle to recover has also inspired agricultural transformation. full report

Cameroon and Nigeria take on task of laying down a border

DAKAR, 12 February 2014 (IRIN) - Twelve years after an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling demarcated the Cameroon-Nigeria border, the UN and the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria are making headway in physically laying down the border and helping develop the long-marginalized oil-rich Bakassi region. But while many positive lessons can be drawn from the Nigeria-Cameroon demarcation process, when it comes to development, there remains much work to do, say Bakassi residents. 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

Violence grinds healthcare to a halt in Nigeria's Borno State

KANO, 5 February 2014 (IRIN) - Persistent attacks by Boko Haram (BH) militants in Nigeria's Borno State have forced dozens of clinics to shut down and hundreds of doctors to flee, leaving many residents to seek medical attention across the border in Cameroon, health professionals and residents told IRIN. 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

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