The Africa Center Newsroom

Robin Reid of Colorado State University has received the 2014 Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award for her career of significant contributions to advancing international education at public and land-grant institutions. Reid was one of three recipients of the Malone Award, which is sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

The founder of Tree Talk and the NGO Mvule Trust, Catharine Watson has made notable contributions to forest conservation awareness. Tree Talk, a social forestry effort, has resulted in the planting of more than 7 million trees in northern Uganda, which has drastically reduced pressure on the natural forest. Her NGO venture, the Mvule Trust, has helped provide opportunities and increased enrollment for females in the National Forestry College who are interested in forest conservation.  75% of recent scholarship recipients were female and female enrollment has increased from 15% to 40% of the student body.  

South Africa is home to more than 25,000 rhinos, roughly 80 percent of the world's rhinoceros population. However, demand for rhino horn in Asian markets has resulted in a dramatic increase in poaching. In 2013, 1,000 rhinos were animals killed for their horns, a death toll that is 50 percent higher than the previous year despite a more concerted international fight against poaching and an international trade ban that has been in place for decades.

The Kenyan government may be pushed into reconsidering its current ban on genetically modified (GM) foods, as the technology appears to be winning support from some farmers struggling to deal with climate stresses.  In Kenya's driest counties, there is increasing demand for GM crops because of their potential to improve food security and increase yields.  However, some local farmers remain apprehensive; they argue that research regarding the degree to which GM crops increase yields remains unsupported, and they pose serious environmental risks.

An initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill sites in Cameroon cannot be expanded to other Central African countries as planned due to a lack of income from the troubled global carbon market, while facilities to convert trapped methane into cheap cooking gas have also been put on hold.

In Zambia, the weather is changing — the rainy season begins later in the year than it once did, and its duration is now unpredictable, creating confusion about the best time for planting.  Traditional means of weather forecasting for planting and harvesting are no longer working as they once did.  Female farmers may be more prone to economic difficulties than males in part because they lack access to technology and technological know-how that can help them adapt to climate change. This article suggests women must be equipped with knowledge systems that help them implement farming strategies that increase adaptive capacity in the face of climate change.  

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) approved US $88 million in grant financing for climate change adaptation efforts in 9 vulnerable countries. This is funded by IFAD's new Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), which channels climate finance to smallholder farmers so that they can improve their resilience to climate change.  These ASAP-supported projects will benefit poor rural communities in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Djibouti, Yemen, Kyrgyzstan and Viet Nam. 

Climate change is already affecting the livelihoods of West African smallholder farmers who rely on rain-fed agricultural techniques, and it is expected to make food shortages more acute as the region’s population continues to grow. However, some experts have proposed that an integrated approach to land management that ensures sustainable policies could help agriculture-dependent West Africa cope with the looming effects of climate change.

Farmers facing long periods of dry weather and floods have expressed hope that a new climate change adaptation initiative being rolled out in Tanzania and Malawi will spell an end to dismal crop yields.

The Climate Services Adaptation Programme launched in November 2013 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) presents a window of opportunity for African farmers to use scientific knowledge to battle weather challenges.

The Governments of Ethiopia, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the Federal Republic of Germany, announced a partnership to improve rural land governance for economic growth and to protect the land rights of local citizens in Ethiopia.  The partnership with Ethiopia will support improved rural land tenure security for all, through appropriate land use management in communal and pastoral areas. It will strengthen transparency in land governance by promoting responsible agricultural investment through an improved legal framework and practice.