Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 4–17 November 2010
Establish green technology fund, experts say
Nigerian experts have called for a green technology fund to help tackle many environmental problems the country faces. At the end of the 4th National Stakeholders' Forum for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development in Nigeria, participants issued a communiqué urging the government to develop a strategic implementation plan to foster environmental protection and sustainable development.
Africa's mobile subscribers hit half a billion
Africa has made significant strides in mobile telephony usage, according to research by Informa Telecoms & Media presented at last week's AfricaCom conference in Cape Town. The number of mobile phone subscribers hit 506 million at the end of September. The same report says is that the new submarine cables that have cropped up on the coasts of the continent in the last 18 months, resulted for the first time in a good level of international connectivity and expansion of opportunities for data services.
Ethiopia's clean development success
Ethiopia's first clean development mechanism project, focusing on the re-forestation of the densely populated Humbo plateau, is restoring the local environment and generating sustainable livelihoods. The dry, dusty region, where temperatures frequently reach 40 degrees Celsius, is prone to extreme weather conditions. The project, organised by an international development organization World Vision, has mobilized 40,000 people in some of the worst-affected areas to protect nearly 3,000 hectares of forest and hopes to generate more than US$700,000 over the next decade by selling carbon credit.
Solar energy helping slum dwellers treat drinking water
A simple method to disinfect water that uses just plastic PET bottles and the sun's rays is proving a success in Kenya's Kibera slums. The Solar Water Disinfection (Sodis) technology harnesses ultraviolet rays and temperature caused by exposure to direct sunlight to kill micro-organisms in the water. 'We only need to leave the water out in the sun for a whole day and it is safe for drinking,' said Ms Dushman Abdul, a Kibera resident. A school in Kibera, the Makina Self-Help School, reported that cases of diarrhoeal diseases have greatly reduced since Sodis was introduced.
Uganda scientists develop disease-resistant cassava varieties
Scientists from Uganda's National Cassava Research Programme have developed cassava varieties that are resistant to cassava mosaic disease and contain high levels of beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A). 'We have over 20 clones that have different colours beginning from light yellow to pink or deep orange cassava. The intensity of colour reflects the quantity of carotene,' said Robert Kawuki, a cassava breeder at Namulonge.
Bad electricity management damaging Zimbabwe's forests
Poor electricity infrastructure, leading to an unreliable power supply, is one of the major causes for the destruction of forests in Zimbabwe. According to Lionel Saungweme, reporting for SW Radio Africa, mismanagement at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has led to daily power cuts — leaving many Zimbabweans no choice but to cut down trees for wood fuel.
Web-based tool to help farmers plant appropriate crops
A 'quick reference calendar' developed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) could revolutionise agriculture through providing advice on the most appropriate crops and seeds to plant in various climatic conditions and soil types for farmers in 43 African countries. The tool covers more than 130 crops from beans and beetroot to wheat and watermelon. 'Seeds are critical for addressing the dual challenges of food insecurity and climate change,' said Shivaji Pandey, director of FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division.
Eritrean college giving a new dimension to education in the country
A college in Eritrea is breathing new life into the country's education system through information and communication technologies as part of efforts to boost educational competence. More than 200 computers are being installed and will soon be connected to the network system. Some fields of study have also benefited from advanced laboratory equipment.