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  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 6-19 May 2010

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Below is a roundup of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 6-19 May 2010

Africa should follow India's ICT example
Africa should learn from India's experience and invest in information and communication technologies to improve governance and make major strides in socioeconomic growth, according to Ajai Chowdhry, co-chair of the World Economic Forum on Africa 2010. Chowdhry said that Africa and India could apply similar solutions to their similar challenges. "It's all been tried and tested in India, and the software is readily available to transfer knowledge and experience," he said. More>>

Africa's protected biodiversity areas disappearing fast
More than half of Africa's protected areas are displaying degraded biodiversity, according to environmentalist group BirdLife. "Sites identified as being in a poor state increased from 43 per cent in 2001 to 57 per cent in 2008," their study concluded. The study used monitoring tools to assess the state of protected areas at 117 sites across seven African countries. More>>

Nigerian government pledges more support for R&D
Nigeria's minister of science and technology, Mohammed Kaoje Abubakar, has vowed that the country's government will give more support for research and development (R&D). Abubakar said the ministry would assess how best to achieve this. He said that R&D is essential for Nigeria to achieve both the Millennium Development Goals and its Vision 2020, and called for scientists to "quantum leap from the laboratory to the economy" for an impact on development. More>>

New technologies needed to help farmers cope with climate change
African farmers — the majority of whom are smallholders — will require technological innovations to adapt to the increasing effects of climate change, an agricultural expert has said. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, chief executive officer of the South Africa-based Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, said that on-the-shelf technologies "may not be compatible with the increased temperatures" and called for technologies such as hybrid seeds. More>>

Cassava mosaic still a major challenge for Uganda
Cassava farmers in Uganda are still faced with the problem of cassava brown streak virus, according to agricultural researchers. Levels of the disease in farmers' fields has increased from almost 18 per cent in 2005 to more than 80 per cent in 2008. The disease is spreading within Uganda but also to other parts of eastern Africa. More>>

Kenya to help tackle wheat rust
Kenya will team up with leading wheat scientists at a conference in Russia to decide on strategies for tackling a new strain of the wheat rust Ug99 (see The race is on to stop the red menace fungus: Ug99). The conference, scheduled for the end of this month, will see countries including Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa presenting information on emerging Ug99 strains. Another wheat pathogen, stripe (yellow) rust, will also be discussed. More>>

Tanzanian agriculture beset by infrastructural under-development
Tanzania's agricultural sector is still weighed down by infrastructural under-development, especially in rural areas. These under-developments include transport and communication, storage and marketing facilities, risk management, quality and standards as well as marketing research and information, according to a study by the Moshi University College of Co-operative and Business Studies. More>>

Go for cheap energy alternatives, Senegal told
A solar energy company claims that the Senegalese government would be mistaken in pursuing the development of nuclear plants to meet its energy needs. The Spanish company Prosolia said that such an investment is too expensive for Senegal. It has done a year-long study demonstrating that alternatives such as solar energy were more cost-effective ­­­for the "sun-rich" country. 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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