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  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 11–24 March 2010


Green fund to help Africa cope with climate change
The International Monetary Fund has mooted a drive to raise US$100 billion annually by 2020 to help Africa and other developing nations with climate change adaptation and mitigation. The money, which will be known as the 'Green Fund', will go towards helping the continent tackle the consequences of climate change. More>>

Geohazards map for Nigeria
The Nigerian space agency has announced that a map revealing areas of the country vulnerable to earthquakes will be ready by the end of the year. The agency's director-general said he hoped the map would "help people to understand how vulnerable the country was". The map will contain information including drainage pattern and density, and vegetation cover, as well as locations of roads, hospitals and universities. More>>

African leaders endorse an ambitious plan for agribusiness
A UN-backed meeting has endorsed a scheme to harness the role of agribusiness — large-scale business operations in food production — in creating food security, employment and wealth. Representatives at the meeting included the UN Industrial Development Organization's director-general who said agribusiness in Africa needs "profound structural transformation and technological upgrading" over the next two decades to achieve this. More>>

African internet penetration just four per cent
Africa has the least number of Internet users in the world, the Pan-Africa Media Conference has heard, and there is a critical need to invest in technology to increase affordable access. The continent's Internet penetration accounts for just four per cent of the global share. Isis Nyong'o, the business development manager of Google's operations in Kenya, said interventions planned by the company include translating data into African languages. More>>

Disease found in chimpanzees could pose threat to humans
Researchers writing in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases warn that the disease caused by the nodular worm Oesophagostomum bifurcum can pose a "lethal" threat to humans and needs further research to bridge knowledge gaps. They investigated disease occurrence in wild chimpanzees and found that high-ranking males — most likely to raid crops and, thus, come into contact with humans — are most likely to carry the disease. More>>

New tea variety has health enhancing properties
Researchers at the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK) have pre-released a variety of 'purple tea' for commercial use. They say that the tea, TRFK 306/1 — which is rich in powerful antioxidants known as anthocyanins — has health enhancing properties, is drought, frost, disease and pest-resistant, and will earn farmers 3–4 times more than exporting black tea. More>>

Do not go for coal energy, Africa told
Africa must resist the lure of coal power as a cheap source of energy, UN Environment Programme executive director Achim Steiner has warned. The continent is being offered demolished coal power stations — abandoned by many countries because of the environmental damage they cause — as a cheap energy supply. Steiner said that, in the long run, it is not necessarily a cheaper option and he urged governments to make "well-founded strategy decisions". More>>

Task shifting improves paediatric HIV testing outcomes
Shifting the work of routine HIV testing of paediatric patients in urban Malawi from lay counselors alone to both lay counselors and those who escort patients significantly improved the programme's outcomes and only marginally increased its operational costs, a study published in PLoS ONE has found. Researchers say that wider implementation of this strategy could improve children's access to HIV care in high-prevalence areas. More>>

Compiled by Ochieng' Ogodo. Additional reporting by Maina Waruru and Munyaradzi Makoni.

If you would like to suggest a story for this news in brief, please contact the Africa News Editor Ochieng' Ogodo ([email protected]).


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