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Burkina Faso at the Forefront of Controversial Malaria Research

Controversial Malaria Research

A radical trial using “gene drive” technology is currently taking place in Burkina Faso, that will see the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in an attempt to wipe out the carriers of the disease. Each year around 400,000 people worldwide die from malaria, half of them in seven countries in Africa, including Burkina Faso. Namantougou already knows the work he’s doing is not nearly enough. “In Burkina Faso there are four mosquitoes that can carry malaria, and we need to tackle each.” Last year, a group of around 160 social and environmental organisations called for a for a moratorium on the experimental use of the gene drive at a UN meeting. It failed by a narrow margin, and many African countries voted against it.


South Africa’s Web of Corruption Bigger than the Guptas

South Africa's Web of Corruption

Corruption under South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma was enabled by international banks, companies and governments which should now seek to recover the loot they helped to launder, British lawmaker Peter Hain told an inquiry on Monday. Hain was invited to give evidence because he had already named several corporates he was investigating under parliamentary privilege in 2017 as complicit in state capture. HSBC said it fully supported the commission’s inquiry, while Standard Chartered said there was no evidence linking it to the Guptas directly. Bank of Baroda did not respond to a request for comment. Hain, a labour lord and former anti-Apartheid activist, called on the banks, global corporates and foreign governments to cooperate better so all those involved are brought to justice.


How a Nigerian Developer Landed his Dream Job 

Dara Oladosu

Software developer Dara Oladosu met Jack Dorsey, who was on a “listening and learning tour” in Africa with other Twitter executives and met with members of Nigeria’s tech community and business executives. One of their first stops was a meeting with tech publishers where Oladosu’s app, Quoted Replies, a Twitter-based bot that helps users collate quoted replies to tweets was discussed. Oladosu was not on the initial invite list for the event held at TechpointNG but a last minute invitation ensured he got to meet the Twitter bosses. n a video from the event, Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s Product Lead said the team is willing to implement Quoted Replies on Twitter as a feature and would like Oladosu to join the team to work on it.


Turning the Tide on Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo


Political, security and cultural complications have made it difficult for health workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to contain an Ebola outbreak that has killed at least 2,000 people since it started last year. Doctors are now using local and faith leaders in a vaccination drive targeting one of the most hard-to-access communities in the country – the Pygmies. The Pygmies have been historically marginalised – many are poor and live far from hospitals and schools, but to reach the goal of zero Ebola cases by the end of the year, doctors say that no one can be left out.


Emojis that Capture the African Spirit

African Spirit

Among the myriad of emojis immediately available to anyone with a smartphone, there were very few that identify African culture. O’Plérou Grebet, a 21-year-old graphic design student from Ivory Coast, has noticed this. According to him, there was something to be done to remedy this lack of representation of his people and his culture. Thinking of the simplest and most direct ways to celebrate Africa, as he was browsing through WhatsApp’s chats, he came up with the idea of creating his own real emoji. Following this intuition, O’Plérou Grebet decided to produce one every day until he created an impressive amount of more than 200 emoji. These represent objects, symbols, food, clothing and much more that identifies African culture. Although created as a way for Africans to “communicate more accurately using instant messaging,” the emoji are also designed for non-Africans so they can discover a new culture with a modern and innovative approach.


Taking Advantage of Nigeria’s Gemstone Supply

Nigeria's Gemstone Supply

Nigeria has recently approved the development of gemstone laboratories in the country to facilitate local certification of genuine precious stones. During a familiarisation tour of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development asked management to focus on developing its capacity to meet the standard requirements of the Gemmological Institute of America. This new move, if properly implemented, would strengthen the federal government’s drive to diversify the Nigerian economy. It would create more business and employment opportunities, generate revenue and reduce spendings of foreign currency for Nigeria. Nigeria has over 44 deposits of different solid minerals including gemstones in large quantity but the sector contributes less than 0.3 percent to the Gross Domestic Product of the nation. 


The Role Of Gas In Powering Africa’s Future

Powering Africa’s Future

It is well-known that Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from a lack of access to electricity. There are 22 African countries with proven gas reserves which suggests that gas should play an increasing role in meeting Sub-Saharan Africa’s demand for power: but is it that straightforward? There are 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa currently consuming gas for power generation and ten of those countries generate power from their own domestic gas production, two rely on pipeline imports (Togo and Benin) and one uses a combination of domestic supply and pipeline imports (Ghana). At the moment there are no LNG imports in the region, but that could soon change.


Tracing Kenya’s Loan Defaulters

Kenya's Loan Defaulters

A Kenyan government agency that gives loans to university students says it will publish the names and photos of 85,000 defaulters if they do not pay up within 30 days. The Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) says it wants to recover at least $490m with debts going back to 1975. The agency says it cannot trace 17,000 of the 85,000 loan defaulters.The HELB said the defaulters have not reacted to any communication addressed to them over the matter and their actions have hindered funding of other needy students.


Beninese Artist Lends Support to Haiti

Kemi Seba

French Beninese writer and activist Kemi Seba is in Haiti on a humanitarian mission. Seba traveled to the Caribbean nation to show support for the PetroChallenger anti-corruption movement and for the residents of the poorest slums of the capital. The sanitary kits contained items such as soap, toothpaste and medicine. Seba said his NGO bought the medicine, which it distributed with the help of local doctors who accompanied them. While the kits don’t address everyone’s needs, he said they do contain basic items that can help with some of the people’s most urgent needs.


Supersonic Car Completes High-speed Testing in South Africa

Bloodhound LSR car

The Bloodhound LSR car is a combination of F1 car, fast jet, and spaceship. Running across its dry lakebed track on Saturday, the British car’s GPS sensors clocked 628mph (1,010km/h). Only seven vehicles in the history of the land speed record have previously driven beyond 600mph. Bloodhound’s achievement is notable because it’s been running with only the thrust of a jet engine. The car’s design allows for a rocket motor, too. To put the 628mph in some sort of context – that’s faster than an airliner would typically be cruising, and Bloodhound is doing it at ground level. And a fighter plane tearing down a runway would be airborne long before it approached this kind of speed. Sensors on Bloodhound revealed the airflow beneath the car went supersonic during its run. Paintwork 3m back from the front wheels was stripped away.


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