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African Languages Growing in U.S. Homes

African Languages

Newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau spotlights African languages among the top ten fastest growing languages spoken at home in the U.S. The list featured three groups of African languages: Swahili and other Central/Eastern/Southern African languages; Yoruba, Twi, Igbo, and other Western African languages; and Amharic/Somali. Analysts credit the development to recent immigration trends. Although African immigrants make up a small share of the nation’s immigrant population, their overall numbers have doubled every decade since 1970, according to the Pew Research Center. Africans now make up 39% of the total foreign-born black population, up from 24% in 2000. This trend is already having an impact on the U.S. In the upcoming 2020 census, the country will, for the first time, have printed guides in three additional African languages—Igbo, Yoruba, and Twi. The previous census in 2010 had guides printed in five African languages all of which were from East and South Africa.


African Leaders Take on the Access to Healthcare Challenge

Healthcare Africa

In spite of international stereotypes of healthcare on the continent, African leaders were particularly active in the discussions surrounding Universal Health Coverage (UHC) at the UN meeting. Rwandan President Paul Kagame underlined its importance in his speech, pitching the “transformational potential” of UHC at the top of the global health agenda. He also released an op-ed alongside WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, drawing attention to just some of the steps which African nations have already taken toward achieving this ambitious goal. A global goal of universal health coverage – that is, access to quality preventative, curative and palliative health services regardless of an individual’s ability to pay – is a lofty one indeed. Rwanda, Senegal and Kenya have taken important steps towards better healthcare and their experience should be considered by other African countries hoping to improve the wellbeing of their populations. 


Undercover in West African Universities

West African Universities

Academic institutions in West Africa have increasingly been facing allegations of sexual harassment by lecturers. This type of abuse is said to be endemic, but it’s almost never proven. After gathering dozens of testimonies, BBC Africa Eye sent undercover journalists posing as students inside the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana. Female reporters were sexually harassed, propositioned and put under pressure by senior lecturers at the institutions – all the while wearing secret cameras. Reporter Kiki Mordi, who knows first-hand how devastating sexual harassment can be, reveals what happens behind closed doors at some of the region’s most prestigious universities.


Tapping into Nigeria’s Sleeping Giant

Iyalode Lawson

Iyalode Lawson, president of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture believes with the right market conditions, Nigeria’s leather industry could be worth $1bn annually by 2025. The global leather industry has an estimated trade value of $100 billion every year, and Lawson hopes that Nigeria’s long history with leather will count for something. While cheap local leather products adorn market stalls in Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria’s indigenous leather industry has been a sleeping giant of the country’s north for over a century. Nigeria has some of the oldest tanneries on the African continent, where young artisans still cure and treat animal hides in the same pits that their ancestors did. For many years, it was a burgeoning industry, earning valuable foreign exchange for the local economy, alongside cocoa plantations in the south, groundnut and rich cotton fields up north.


A German Device Goes Beyond its Potential in Kenya

Martin Drewes

Martin Drewes remembers fretting over children subsisting on “a little bit” of bottled water, while the rest was too dirty to drink. That led to his device’s unique water wheel turning non-potable water drinkable.  He then teamed up with researchers and local village women along Kenya’s Isiukhu River, to test it where potable tap water isn’t taken for granted In the case of the Waver, “the main challenge is to build the pump in the community where it is used,” Müller says. Drewes estimates that it will take five years to develop a local industry in countries like Kenya. That process could use something as ubiquitous as discarded beer kegs to fashion water wheels, although some filter components, costing as much as $1,100 apiece, would still need to be shipped from Europe or elsewhere.


There’s a Block in the Renaissance Dam Talks

Renaissance Dam Talks

Egypt said that talks with Sudan and Ethiopia over the operation of a $4 billion hydropower dam that Ethiopia is constructing on the Nile have reached a deadlock, and it called for international mediation. Egypt relies on the Nile for 90% of its fresh water, and it wants the GERD’s reservoir to release a higher volume of water than Ethiopia is willing to guarantee, among other disagreements. Ethiopia last month rejected a proposal by Egypt to operate the dam. Addis Ababa did not say how much water it wants to release, but Egypt wants the dam to release a minimum of 40 billion cubic metres of water annually. Ethiopia’s minister at the talks, Seleshi Bekele, rejected the Egyptian request for a mediator.


A Week Before Mozambique’s Polls

Mozambique's Polls

An escalating insurgency, attacks on political campaigners and a terrified population have set a worrying scene for Mozambique’s election on October 15. While the poll looks, on the surface, like a simple two-way contest between the long-ruling Frelimo party and the opposition Renamo party, analysts say it’s a complex situation for the Southern African nation. In fact, analysts are worried the poll will lack two essential qualities — the first being fairness. Nor is the election bringing what this war-torn nation badly needs: peace after decades of conflict between the government and the armed wing of the opposition. Despite a recent peace deal, human rights experts say they suspect the accord will not last.


Is Kigali’s Popular Spot Under Siege?

Volcanoes National Park

Rwandan police say 19 attackers have been killed and others are on the run after their assault on a popular tourist area killed at least 14 people over the weekend. The district is popular with tourists visiting nearby Volcanoes National Park to see gorillas. It is not yet known whether tourists were among those killed. Eighteen Rwandans were wounded. Dozens of rebel groups are active in mineral-rich eastern DRC, and the Rwandan district has been attacked repeatedly in the past. The Rwanda Development Board, which promotes tourism, says in a statement that order has been restored in the area.


The War on Terror Spreads in the Sahel

Sahel Terror

Around 20 people have been killed in an attack on a gold mining site in northern Burkina Faso, security sources said, the latest in a spate of violence blamed on a jihadist insurgency across the region. The attack over the weekend took place in Soum province not far from where alleged jihadists blew up a bridge linking two northern towns in mid-SeptemberThe west African nation has become part of a four-and-a-half year jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region, which covers the region south of the Sahara from the Atlantic coast across to the horn of Africa. Many of the attacks have been attributed to groups affiliated with al-Qaida, and others to the so-called Islamic State group.


Ethiopia’s Oromos Celebrate Thanksgiving

Ethiopia's Oromos

Huge crowds turned out in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, as it hosted for the first time in more than a century the annual Irreecha thanksgiving festival of the Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group. In one Irreecha tradition, freshly cut grass and flowers are placed in water to thank God for the end of the rainy season and the beginning of spring. Previously, the annual festival had been celebrated in Bishoftu, 40km away, but similar gatherings have taken place in other parts of Oromia at different times of the year. The move to the capital, which is surrounded by Oromia, is seen by some as a recognition of Oromo culture by the authorities. For years, Oromo people had complained of cultural and political marginalisation.


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