Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Is Kenya’s drought a climate changing warning?

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Successive failed rain seasons in Kenya have led to a drought that experts say is the worst in the country since 1996.

And it is not just a problem for Kenya. Aid agencies estimate more than 23 million people will need food aid in the Horn of Africa region.

Kenyan Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai says it shows how ill-prepared much of Africa is to deal with the effects of climate change.

Herders who depend on cattle for their food and income are having to drive their livestock hundreds of kilometres to seek pasture and water – but find little relief.

What can Africa expect from the G8?

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi agreed to sit down with Reuters on Wednesday only hours before leaving for the G8 summit in Italy. He told us he planned to remind the rich leaders he met there that the economic slowdown and global warming are having a disproportionate effect on Africa. And that the world’s poorest continent did nothing to cause them.

The former rebel represented Africa at this year’s G20 summit of rich nations and is arguing the case on behalf of the continent again today and tomorrow. Continental spokesman seems a roll Meles — who has a passionate interest in economics — is comfortable with. But he told us it was only related to his job as Ethiopian Prime Minister and that he has no desire to take on a pan-African job if and when he retires as leader — something he has recently said he has plans to do.

from Environment Forum:

New ‘gold rush’ buzz hits Germany over Sahara solar

A "gold-rush-like" buzz has spread across Germany in the last week over tentative plans to invest the staggering sum of 400 billion euros to harvest solar power in the Sahara for energy users across Europe and northern Africa. Even though European and Mediterranean Union leaders have been exploring and studying for several years the idea of using concentrated solar power (CSP), the Desertec proposition suddenly captivated the public's attention a week ago when German reinsurer Munich Re announced it had invited blue chip German companies such as Deutsche Bank, Siemens and several major utilities to a July 13 meeting on the project. The 20 companies aim to sign a memorandum of understanding to found the Desertec Industrial Initiative that could be supplying 15 percent of Europe's electricity in the decades ahead.

Germany's deputy foreign minister, Guenter Gloser, has been the government's point man for the project. I had the chance to talk to him about it.

Can local resources power Rwanda?

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Africa is the least electrified continent on the planet and getting power into the homes of millions of people who don’t have electricity is an enormous challenge.

Rwanda is Africa’s most densely populated country and 9 out of 10 people there don’t have electricity. The government is now tapping its own natural resources such as the methane deposits under Lake Kivu to try to meet the country’s growing energy
demands. 

Should we really care about the Chagossians?

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chagossians_prayer.jpgchagossians_prayer.jpgShould we really care that Britain’s House of Lords upheld a British government appeal on Wednesday, blocking the return of hundreds of Chagossians to their Indian Ocean homes?The decision by the House of Lords ends a years-long battle to secure the Chagos Islanders the right to return to their archipelago, from where they were forcibly removed in the 1960s and ’70s to make way for an American airbase on Diego Garcia.

By a ruling of 3-2, the lords backed a British government appeal that argued that allowing the islanders to return could have a detrimental effect on defence and international security. It’s a tough decision and an agonizing result for the Chagos islanders. They continue to suffer appalling injustice because of the British government, who booted them out of the Chagos islands – also known as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) – to make way for a US military base.

Saving Kenyan forest. Is it a turning point?

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mau-forest3.jpgAfter a decade of rampant destruction of the Mau forest water catchment in western Kenya, the country’s coalition government seems firmly united in trying to save the complex before more serious damage is inflicted on the economy.

U.N. officials say this is no longer simply an environmental issue but something that has huge importance for the whole country. Already two of the top three foreign exchange earners — tourism and tea — are feeling the impact of falling water levels which have also forced the postponement of a major hydro-electric project. 

Birds and biofuels at odds in Kenya

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tana-demonstration.jpgThe road to Kenya’s Tana River Delta from the Indian Ocean resort of Malindi is a lonely stretch of tarmac punctuated only by road blocks manned by armed police.

Few people from the outside world come this way.

Most foreign and local holidaymakers heading for the popular Lamu Islands prefer to fly rather than use the road.

On the Great North Road into forgotten Kenya

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kenya_northernroad_resized.jpgMARSABIT, Kenya – We are in two Land Rover Defenders, headed north to Ethiopia through one of Kenya’s remotest and harshest areas.

Our route is along the Great North Road, the famed Cape Town-to-Cairo highway on what is said to be the only untarmacked stretch on the whole continent – roughly 550 kilometres from where the highway ends at Isiolo town north to Moyale on the Ethiopian border.  It has all the wildlife and stunning scenery Kenya is world-famous for, but few tourists ever see it.

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