• African innovation

    Following an open, competitive, application process which saw entries from fifteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa, twelve African entrepreneurs were chosen to receive a package of six months of business training and mentoring from the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering. The four finalists showing the greatest promise have now been chosen, and are in with a chance to become the overall winner. Each will receive at least £10,000 with the grand prize of £25,000 to be awarded at a ceremony in Cape Town on 1 June. A low-cost sustainable water filter system to provide clean and safe drinking water, and a service that allows African mobile phone users to switch easily between multiple mobile networks are among the four African innovations selected by the Academy.

  • African security

    Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, UN envoy to the Sahel region in Africa, said last week that up to forty-one million young people in the Sahel have nothing hut a bleak future to look to, pushing them to migrate and making them susceptible to radicalization. She said that young people under age 25 in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger “face hopelessness.” She noted that 44 percent of children in the Sahel lack access to primary education and only 36 percent of the population can read or write.

  • Food security

    Climate change could kill more than 500,000 adults in 2050 worldwide due to changes in diets and bodyweight from reduced crop productivity. The research, published yesterday in The Lancet, is the strongest evidence yet that climate change could have damaging consequences for food production and health worldwide. The study found that by 2050, reduced fruit and vegetable intake could cause twice as many deaths as under-nutrition, and that three-quarters of all climate-related deaths due to changes in food production are estimated to occur in China and India.

  • Water security

    Direct abstraction of water from rivers through ponds and pumping devices seems the most attractive water storage option in Ethiopia. However, the funding agencies that may be interested in investing in such a storage system have to consider that better access to credit, and clear abstraction policies should be ensured.

  • ISIS

    French Special Forces are among commando units operating on the ground in Libya against ISIS. A small French force has been operating out of Benghazi’s Benina airport, assisting forces of the internationally backed Libyan authorities in Tobruk. The Pentagon has said that in the absence of a unity government, U.S. Special Forces have been “partnering” with different militias for attacks on ISIS militants.

  • ISIS

    Italy said it would allow armed U.S. drones to be based in an American base in Sicily so they would be within to launch attacks against ISIS militants in Libya and other northern Africa countries. The agreement was reached after years of negotiations, and against the backdrop of intensified ISIS activity in Libya and other African countries.

  • Arms sales

    The volume of international transfers of major weapons has grown continuously since 2004 and rose by 14 percent between 2006 and 2010 and 2011–2015, according to new data. Six of the top ten largest arms importers in the 5-year period 2011–15 are in Asia and Oceania. Arms imports by states in the Middle East rose by 61 percent between 2006 and 2010 and 2011 and 2015.

  • Food security

    Global market integration is key to buffering future commodity prices and food security from the negative effects of climate change on agriculture. Rising temperatures and an increase in extreme weather events will likely have adverse impacts on global crop production, leading to higher food prices and food scarcity. But global markets that have the ability to deliver food where it is needed most could help offset these consequences.

  • Pandemics

    As world leaders grapple with containing the Zika virus, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa provides valuable lessons for how to respond to other infectious disease epidemics, according to a just-published policy report. Rebuilding local health care infrastructures, improving capacity to respond more quickly to outbreaks and considering multiple perspectives across disciplines during decision-making processes are among the key recommendations the authors propose.

  • Terrorism & drugs

    Terrorists are in it as much for the loot as for the ideology. The Islamic State, or ISIS, could hardly exist, whatever its Islamist fervor, without hard cash from sales of pilfered petroleum, taxes on its subject population and kidnappings for ransom. Likewise ISIS- and al-Qaeda-linked groups in Africa prosper by trafficking drugs across the Sahara and by offering “protection” to smugglers who have long been trading illicit goods throughout the continent. Although Westerners tend to think of these groups as driven by ideology, new recruits may be more attracted by opportunities to make money. Combating terror in Africa, at least, now depends as much on cutting off insurgents from their sources of income as it does on defeating them on the battlefield – a much longer, tougher, and more costly pursuit.

  • African security

    Boko Haram Islamist extremists have burned children to death in an attack on the Nigerian village of Dalori Saturday evening. In all, sixty-five people died in the attack. The militants set the buildings on fire, and as the fire spread, they shot people who were attempting to escape the flames.

  • African security

    There have been many books on the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there are few about the recent military interventions of America’s allies in countries such as Mali and others on the African continent. Because the January 2013 French intervention in Mali against the local Al Qaeda affiliate was quick, effective, and relatively low cost, the story contains valuable lessons for future strategy.

  • African security

    Against the background of growing concerns about the potential of Islamic extremism in the country, the Senegal government has decided to ban the burqa, the body-and-face-covering dress traditional Muslim women wear. In banning the burqa, Senegal is following the example of Chad and Cameroon, two other countries with large Muslim populations, which banned the traditional dress earlier this year. Senegal’s interior minister, said women would no longer be allowed to wear the Islamic dress, which leaves only the eyes exposed. He said the decision was taken out of concern that terrorists might be using the burqa as a disguise.

  • African security

    President Barack Obama on Wednesday notified the Congress of his plan to deploy 300 troops to Cameroon to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations to the militaries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger as they battle the Islamist Boko Haram insurgents. In a letter released by the White House, the president said ninety personnel had already been deployed, and that they would be armed for self-defense. A senior administration official said the deployment was “part of the counter Boko Haram effort.”

  • Intelligence

    The events of September 11 2001 were a catalyst for change in the intelligence profession.One noticeable change: The number of universities offering an intelligence studies-related degree has grown from  a handful to few dozen. Universities are starting to develop curricula that feature practical real-world exercises and structural analytical techniques. This is often happening in collaboration with the intelligence community. Like most businesses or agencies do, universities are starting to develop specific niches. This expansion is being led by the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE), which was formed in June 2004. The field will only grow. It’s a necessary expansion to produce the professionals needed to ensure America’s national security and that of its allies for generations to come.

  • African security

    Ikea was scheduled to open its first store in Morocco today, but the Moroccan government has blocked the opening because the store lacked a “conformity permit,” a statement from the Interior Ministry said yesterday. Earlier on Monday, a news Web site close to the Moroccan palace said the store was not allowed to open because of Sweden’s plans to recognize an independent state – to be called Sahrawi Republic — championed by the Polisario Front in the Western Sahara. Morocco claims sovereignty over the Western Sahara.

  • African security

    British prime minister David Cameron has said that hundreds of British troops will be deployed to Somalia and South Sudan to train African peacekeeping forces in order to foster “less terrorism and less migration.” Over the years the United Kingdom has contributed to many peacekeeping missions, but now its role is largely limited to providing about 280 troops participating in the current mission in Cyprus. The United Kingdom has also given about £260 million in aid to South Sudan since the start of the civil war in December 2013.

  • African security

    The Central African Republic (CAR), one of the poorest countries in the world, suffers not only from mass atrocities and misrule, but also a dangerous dependence on aid, said the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in a report released the other day. Since early 2013 over half of CAR’s population has been the victim of sectarian violence which has cost over 6,000 deaths, leaving 2.7 million people in need of emergency assistance. Harvests have decreased by 58 percent and 1.52 million people are food insecure.

  • African security

    Since September last year, a bloody war has been raging between the Tuareg and Tebu, two indigenous tribes in the remote Saharan oasis town of Ubari, in Libya’s rich southern oil fields near Libya’s border with Algeria, Niger, and Chad. Each side is supported by different Libyan factions and outside forces, all vying for control of the mineral-rich and politically volatile area. As the United States and Europe grow more concerned about the growing presence of ISIS in Libya, they have begun to pay more attention to the war between the Tuareg and Tebu and the potential it offers for ISIS for more mischief.

  • Water

    There is mounting evidence of the risks posed by water scarcity to business and economic growth. A 2012 projection by the International Food Policy Research Institute says 45 percent of total GDP — $63 trillion — will be at risk due to water stress by 2050. With coordinated action, better water provision in Africa will strengthen economic growth and unlock the path to prosperity for millions, according to SABMiller’s Chief Executive Alan Clark.