Staff, 12:02 am
One aspect of U.S. military operations in Africa that remains vastly under-covered and unappreciated is the role of private military and security contractors. Private military and security contractors are the U.S. military’s American Express card. It dare not deploy overseas without them. This is nowhere truer than in Africa. It is fitting that modern private military and security contractors should be operating in Africa. After all, Africa gave rise to much of the industry. The pioneer in the field was the South Africa-based Executive Outcomes, which shut down in 1998.
Staff, 7:05 am
In Accra, Ghana, there was a building that flew an American flag outside every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, 7:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Inside hung a photo of President Barack Obama, and signs indicated that you were in the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. However, you were not. This embassy was a sham. It was not operated by the United States government, but by figures from both Ghanaian and Turkish organized crime rings
Staff, 3:32 pm
Lagos is not a walkable city. Few points of interest are within walking distance. While there are tourist friendly areas like Surulere and Victoria Island, there is no central museum or tourist district. You’ll need to take a car almost everywhere. Though there are many horror stories about the traffic and public transport, most are exaggerated. It’s true that traffic in the city can be terrible, but it can also be quite light, and getting around doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Some careful planning around rush hours and mode of transit can mimimize most of the congestion in your journey.
Staff, 6:55 pm
Since Ghana’s most famous attractions are its slave forts and beaches, tourists tend to head west out of Accra. If you head east, you’ll find yourself in the Volta region. You’ll see fewer tourists and enjoy spectacular birdlife. Xavi, one of Ghana’s birdwatching hotspots, is home to 90 species including pygmy kingfisher, emerald cuckoo and yellow-crowned gonolek. Guests explore by canoe with a guide, floating peacefully down the Lotor River. Even if you aren’t interested in birds, it’s a wonderful trip that ends at an impressive stand of 60 baobab trees.
Staff, 11:20 am
Though HIV has faded from the headlines since the development of antiretroviral drugs made the disease manageable, it is still a pandemic. Researchers in South Africa will begin Monday to inoculate thousands of volunteers in the latest — and, some say, most promising — effort to develop a vaccine that prevents HIV/AIDS. If the vaccine is 50-to-60 percent effective, experts say that would be enough for drugmakers to begin licensing negotiations with the South African government.
Staff, 7:31 am
Traditionally reliant on mineral revenues especially from diamond sales, the country is banking on the seemingly fast improving tourism sector to become a central plank of its economic strategy. Spurred by positive growth figures, blue-collar workers are busy building high scrapping hotels and convention centres, in a push to boost tourism as the government reduces its reliance on diamond revenues.
Staff, 7:22 am
Senegal has recently become only the second country in the world which will introduce a new national digital currency. Named eCFA, the digital currecy will be blockchain based and will be legal tender just as their current currency, CFA Franc, is. Senegal’s eCFA comes from a partnership by Banque Régionale de Marchés (BRM) and eCurrency Mint Limited. BRM will issue the digital tender currency, the eCFA, in compliance with e-money regulations
Staff, 7:13 am
Nearly 100 million people are now on the first steps of the energy ladder thanks to the rapid deployment of solar home systems in poor communities across the world. That’s incredible progress that marks the beginning, not the end, of clean energy access. With increasing attention being paid to the missing middle excitement about the opportunity to end energy poverty is palpable.
Staff, 5:34 pm
South Africa this week put on hold proposals to introduce a national minimum wage as part of an effort to stabilize the labor market. Labor upheaval is a potential risk factor to the country’s credit rating, which faces in the next two weeks a possible downgrade to junk status by ratings agencies. The economy has grown slowly in the last six years — too slowly to recoup the 1 million jobs lost during the 2008-2009 recession. Despite the gloomy numbers, the rand held its ground, propped up by firmer metal prices which boosted commodity currencies.
Staff, 6:23 pm
The Lekki Conservation Centre is one of the few natural relics in Lagos, and one of the city’s best kept secrets. Few Lagosians have any idea that it exists, let alone visit, though it’s been around for at least 25 years. That’s because they see Lagos as a completely built-up environment with little nature to spare. But after taking just a few steps into the 78-hectare wilderness, I feel the sound of honking traffic receding, replaced by ripples from the swamp water underneath the boardwalk. Soon the noise is gone and I am fully in nature’s embrace.