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Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 21 October–3 November 2010

Mosquito mutation could present major challenge
Efforts to control malaria in Africa may be complicated by mutations that are making the strains of the Anopheles gambiae mosquito ever more different, according to researchers at Imperial College London. Mara Lawniczak, a co-author of the study, said that the two strains have evolved to such a degree that they are close to becoming separate species, so strategies to counter one might not work against the other. More>>

Solar water-purifier to help reduce carbon emission
A Swedish carbon-trading firm has launched a solar-powered water purifier in Kenya, in a bid to curb firewood dependency and reduce carbon emissions. Each 'Solvatten' purifier unit can treat ten litres of water up to three times a day. Within a few hours of exposure to sunlight, it gets rid of pathogens responsible for diseases such as cholera and dysentery. The firm is currently working with microfinance institutions to enable purchase of the devices in monthly installments. More>>

Indian institution invites Rwandese for technological training
Rwandan students will be able to pursue advanced technology studies in India, following approval by the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Such programmes have already started with Ethiopian students, said M. Balakrishnan, deputy director of the institute. "We invite Rwandans to use this chance. The students will have to be recommended by their governments. The institute is negotiating with the Indian government on how to make such programs affordable," said Balakrishnan. More>>

First phytosanitary centre for east and central Africa launched
Kenya has joined forces with non-profit organisation Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI) to launch a centre for plant health excellence. The Centre of Phytosanitary Excellence for Africa will provide plant health services, ensure compliance with phytosanitary standards and requirements for importing plant materials, provide training and conduct analyses of pest risk. "The launch of [the centre] comes at a time when countries in this region are harmonizing their plant health policies to tackle the cross-border challenges of pests and diseases," said Roger Day of CABI-Africa. "It will provide local and regional researchers with the opportunity to undertake learning closer to home, greatly reducing the costs involved." More>>

Quality of Nigeria's education on the decline
The quality of engineering education in Nigerian education is declining, according to the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers. Echoing their sentiments, minister of education Ruqayyatu Rufa'i said that this decline extends to other subject areas. She said that to produce high-quality graduates that can compete on a global stage, there must be "a review of the curriculum of all disciplines, capacity building and re-orientation of the academic staff, increased funding and management of available funds". More>>

Telecommunication services pushing up GDP
Greater access to telecommunication services in Zimbabwe and other African countries is boosting national wealth, according to the mobile phone company Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. "In developing countries, where you increase the penetration rate by ten per cent, you increase GDP (growth) by one, two per cent, which is a phenomenal growth. The growth is about 0.6 per cent in developed nations," Douglas Mboweni, chief executive officer of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, said last week. More>>

Nigeria on verge of climate change commission
A bill for the establishment of a climate change commission for Nigeria is ready to be put forward for presidential approval, Eziuche Ubani, chairman of the House Committee on Climate Change, has said. Nigeria is the first African country to attempt to set up such a commission to deal with the impacts of climate change, Ubani said, adding that a national policy must be put in place to delegate responsibilities to institutions and individuals. More>>

Use science to solve challenges standing in the way of development
Science could greatly help in tackling development issues, according to South African science and technology minister Naledi Pandor. Limited access to scientific knowledge is depriving communities, she told the 22nd International Committee on Data for Science and Technology conference last week. "In poor or deprived communities, access to information is limited or non-existent. This clearly impairs the ability of those living in poor communities to make informed decisions," she said. More>>

Compiled by Ochieng' Ogodo. Additional reporting by Duncan Mboya

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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