Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 5–18 June


Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 5–18 June 2008.

Invest in power transmission not generation, governments told
African Development Bank vice-president Arunma Oteh has called on southern African governments to leave electricity creation to the private sector and concentrate instead on maintaining and improving electricity distribution networks. She said power supply projects accounted for one third of the bank's approved loans in 2007 and that the bank is willing to lend more to governments to invest in electricity transmission. More>>

Make toothpaste a tax-free preventative medicine, researchers say
Kenyans must work for nearly 11 days to buy cheap toothpaste and Zambians spend four per cent of their household budget on the item, a study finds. Sodium fluoride is marked an 'essential medicine' by the WHO and cavities are the most common disease worldwide. But, researchers say, taxes and packaging hike up the price, contributing half of the cost in Burkina Faso. More>>

HIV-2 rates stabilise in urban Guinea-Bissau
A study of HIV infections in Bissau, capital of Guinea-Bissau, found prevalence to be less than five per cent. Comparing the data with a similar study ten years ago, the researchers suggest that the HIV-2 strain prevalent in West Africa may be disappearing from the country, although HIV-1 continues to spread. More>>

African nations praised for environmental gains
Kenya, Mauritainia and Tunisia have made significant strides in combating deforestation, preventing overgrazing and rehabilitating wetlands, according to the UN 'Africa: Atlas of Our Changing Environment' report. However, the report warns that the continent is still losing forest cover twice as fast as the rest of the world. More>>

Namibians and South Africans at high risk from 'sexual networking'
Research in South Africa finds little awareness of key risks — specifically having multiple sexual partners — creating concentrated sexual networks that encourage rapid HIV transmission. The situation is similar in northern and central Namibia [PDF 1.0MB], though researchers note that greater HIV testing and less stigma — attributed to respondents knowing more people with the disease — is encouraging.

African universities receive e-learning grants
Hewlett Packard has awarded the universities of Jos in Nigeria, Free State in South Africa and Makerere in Uganda grants of US$100,000 in cash and equipment to promote science and technology teaching. The grants runs for a year, after which the universities retain the equipment. More>>

Research links herpes and diabetes in Africans
Researchers from France and Senegal have found a link between the herpes virus and an unusual form of type 2 diabetes in patients in or from Sub-Saharan Africa. The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. More>>

South Africa's 'safe' nuclear technology draws interest
A South Africa-developed nuclear reactor that cannot 'meltdown' might not be suitable for electricity generation, but could produce synthetic fuels to replace fossil fuels, says Bertrand Barré, chairperson of the International Nuclear Energy Academy. The state-owned PBMR company, who developed the technology, say the project could now tender for a public-private partnership with the United States. More>>

Multiple bednet delivery strategies fight malaria in rural Tanzania
A three-pronged approach to distribution of insecticide-treated bednets successfully increased coverage levels to that where the poor, rural community of Rufiji in southern Tanzania was protected from malaria, researchers report. The three elements were commercial retailers, government voucher subsidies for pregnant women and free nets for children under the age of five. More>>

Clues to platinum's origins in South Africa
Stephen Richardson of the University of Cape Town has discovered that many rare metals come from the Earth's mantle not the continental crust. Richardson studied minute mineral signatures in diamonds mined from South Africa's Bushveld complex, the world's largest platinum-group element repository. This may help exploring for much-needed ores like platinum, used in microelectronics and pollution control. More>>

Compiled by Christina Scott. Additional reporting by Munyaradzi Makoni.

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

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.