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  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 25 March–7 April 2010


Below is a roundup of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 25 March–7 April 2010

Widespread pyrethroid resistance in Benin
A study conducted in southern Benin has found widespread resistance to permethrin — part of the pyrethroid class of synthetic insecticides — in malaria-transmitting Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes. This is a cause for concern as pyrethroids are currently the only insecticides recommended by the WHO for the impregnation of bednets, researchers said. They added that these findings could help inform future control strategies. More>>

South African journal moves to online publishing platform
The South African Journal of Science, which has been open access since last year, has moved to an online publishing platform. It is the first scholarly journal in the country to have articles freely available online in PDF, HTML and XML formats. Once a paper is approved, it is immediately available online — eliminating "delays between the article as a finished product and its accessibility to interested readers". More>>

Drought-resistant cowpea variety could boost farming
Researchers from the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria and the University of California, Riverside, have independently mapped specific genome regions that may help develop cowpea varieties resistant to drought and disease. The findings might help farmers cope with myriad of problems including parasitic weeds and insect pests, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The continent is responsible for 70 per cent of the world's cowpea production. More>>

Uganda could miss out on ICT revolution because of a wrong cable
Experts in Uganda have warned that the country is laying the wrong kind of fibre optic cable for its information and communication technologies (ICT) backbone infrastructure. Uganda should be using the 'G652' type for the kind of data it will need to transmit, instead of the 'G655' currently being laid, but attempts to postpone the project have failed. "Missing the ICT train" will be catastrophic for the country's future, said the National Information Technology Authority. More>>

East African scientists to form new disease surveillance centre
Scientists from five East African countries will establish a joint disease surveillance centre for the early detection and control of infectious diseases in the region. The East African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (EACIDS) — comprising of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda — will facilitate cross-border detection of, and response to infectious disease outbreaks in plants, animals and humans. More>>

Biofuels law for Angola
The Angolan parliament has approved a new biofuels law. The 'Bill on Biofuels' was passed last month (24 March) and it will help address national energy needs sustainably, said Botelho de Vasconcelos, Angola's oil minister. De Vasconcelos said biofuel production would provide jobs, promote regional integration and encourage people to return to the country's rural areas. More>>

Smaller seed and fertiliser packets to scale up production in Africa
Local African seed companies and non-governmental organisations are reducing the size of seed and fertiliser packets so that farmers can trial products before "risking" their money on larger purchases. The scheme could empower farmers to try out new crop varieties better suited to their needs, said George Bigirwa of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Currently, many farmers avoid this practice for fear of ruining their whole harvest. More>>

Climate change to worsen Africa's water stress by 2020
Around 75 million people in Africa will face increased water stress because of climate change by 2020, according to Citizens against Climate Change in Nigeria. The organisation said a projected sea-level rise will affect low-lying, heavily populated coastal areas such as Lagos in Nigeria. More>>

Compiled by Ochieng' Ogodo. Additional reporting by Maina Waruru

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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