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  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 12–25 August 2010

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Below is a roundup of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 12–25 August 2010

Experimental AIDS vaccine test for Africa
Pharmaceutical company Crucell NV and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative have announced plans to test an experimental AIDS vaccine in Africa and the United States. The first trial will "assess its safety and ability to prompt an immune response" in healthy adults, the company said. Details of the trial are yet to be announced. "Our programme to develop this combination vaccine represents one of the most advanced AIDS vaccine programmes in the world," Jaap Goudsmit, Crucell's chief scientific officer, said. More>>

Africa worst affected by desertification
Africa is the continent worst affected by desertification, with its semi-arid Sahel region "fast turning into a wasteland", the UN said in a statement last week (16 August). Frequent droughts in countries such as Chad and Niger are posing serious threats to people's lives as they face starvation. The UN Environment Programme is calling for mass tree-planting to protect the fragile top layer of soil and prevent deforestation, and for education in good land-use. More>>

Ghana has doubled agricultural R&D spending
Ghana doubled its spending on agricultural research and development between 2000 and 2008 — although most of this increase went towards paying higher salaries, according to a study. "Well-funded, staffed and managed agricultural research organizations are critical to advancing agricultural science and technology," said Nienke Beintema, head of the Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators initiative, which conducted the study. The study also found that the budget for Ghana's major science and technology agencies increased from US$5 million in 2007 to US$39 million in 2008. More>>

Rwanda to boost number of girls in science
Rwanda will select at least 100 girls to study science and technology courses at higher institutions by the end of the year, under its Equal Opportunities Programme. Funded by the African Development Bank and coordinated by the country's Ministry of Education, the two-year project hopes to have enrolled 200 girls by December 2011. More>>

Political turbulence has had negative impact on Nigerian science
Long-standing political turbulence has had a negative impact on the development of science in Nigeria, according to the country's Academy of Science. According to the academy's secretary, Oladoyin Odubanjo, politics should be the backbone for science development in any country but in Nigeria politics "submerge the relevance of science to society". However, the academy said it is hopeful that the new government, led by Jonathan Goodluck, a trained scientist, could make science a priority once again. More>>

Malawi's US$25 million mobile network rollout
G-Mobile, which hopes to become Malawi's third mobile telecommunications company, plans to roll out a US$25 million network by the end of the year. The company was fined millions of dollars for failing to deliver on time last year, but is confident that it will meet its new deadline. According to G-Mobile's chief executive officer, Peter Davies, the company hopes to reduce prices and become the "network of choice" for Malawi where mobile phone penetration remains low and call costs are high. More>>

Window screening and ceilings accepted as measure for keeping mosquitoes out
Window screening is widely accepted as an effective, "sustainable" method for keeping mosquitoes out. Researchers conducted a study in Tanzania and found that screening eaves could also protect against various mosquito-borne diseases across East and West Africa. "Screening of eaves alone or fitting ceilings has considerable potential for integrated control of other vectors of filariasis, arbovirus and malaria," the authors said. More>>

Compiled by Ochieng' Ogodo.

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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