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Articles on Africa

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Modern computing allows to spot isolated trees and shrubs in semi-arid areas, facilitating research on the evolution of vegetation cover. Martin Brandt

How we mapped billions of trees in West Africa using satellites, supercomputers and AI

Advanced techniques allowed our research team to build an open database of billions of individual trees and challenge some common perceptions about vegetation in arid and semi-arid zones.
Workers pack syringes at India’s biggest syringe manufacturer. Government support has been key to developing this capacity. Photo by Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

South African case study sheds light on how vaccine manufacturing can be developed

African governments, firms and donor agencies should align their efforts to support the local manufacture of vaccines and other health equipment in African countries.
A lorry trailer carries the coffins of the victims of a munitions explosion in Brazzaville, the Congolese capital, in 2012. Junior D. Kannah/AFP via Getty Images

Stockpiling munitions carries risks. The basic steps that can stop catastrophic explosions

Data suggests that Africa as a whole suffers a relatively high rate of casualties at munition sites where there are unplanned explosions.
Maker spaces give engineers and designers the tools to build low-cost medical equipment using locally available materials. Brandon Martin, Rice University

‘Frugal design’ brings medical innovations to communities that lack resources during the pandemic

Engineering students in Malawi and Tanzania have used the materials and tools available to them to build ventilators, personal protective equipment and UV disinfection systems.
Demolition of uninhabited shacks in Bloekombos, Kraaifontein, Cape Town, August 6, 2020. The land, which was to be developed as a community facility for neighbouring communities, has been illegally occupied by people who have been demarcating plots and building informal settlements. Rodger Bosch/AFP

Can social housing help South Africa overcome its legacy of apartheid?

Despite millions of free homes built since 1994, spatial inequality in South Africa remains high. A study evaluating a programme to boost rentals in well-located areas found mixed results, however.
The golden ratio, which has been a key tenet of modernist design, may have origins in Africa. tatadonets via Getty Images

The African roots of Swiss design

Long thought to have originated in Ancient Greece, the golden ratio that forms the basis of the Swiss design style may have first emerged in Africa.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa (right) shakes hands with Rwandan President Paul Kagame (left) at the Commonwealth summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2013. Sri Lankan Government/Getty Images

The Commonwealth: rediscovering its radical voice could make it relevant again

Despite its Imperial origins, the Commonwealth has a strong radical tradition. If it wants to remain relevant to Africa in the 21st Century, that radicalism needs to be rediscovered.
In some African countries, lion trophy hunting is legal. Riaan van den Berg

Recreational hunting, conservation and livelihoods: no clear evidence trail

Debates centred on the role of recreational hunting in supporting nature conservation and local people’s livelihoods are among the most polarising in conservation today.

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