The Africa Center Newsroom

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.

Colorado State University is among five other higher education institutions that was awarded the NAFSA 2013 Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization!!

CSU and the University of Nairobi (UoN) partnered to open a Center for Sustainable Dryland Ecosystems and Societies (CSDES), which focuses on research and education to address the sustainability challenges of Kenya’s underdeveloped drylands. Read more to see what fellow SAES member and director of CSU's Center for Collaborative Conservation Robin Reid, a centerpiece in fostering the relationship between CSU and UoN, has to say about the the development and future of the partnership.

In sub-Saharan Africa, land acquisitions are on the rise and investment trends are shifting.  Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa have liberal investment laws and generous tax incentives, but laws governing customary land-use rights and ownership are weak. Negotiations for land occur completely outside any existing statutory legal frameworks, increasing the need to close tax loopholes and improve legal frameworks. The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is working in conjunction with the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) to help governments and civil society reform laws to promote peace, justice, sustainable development and economic opportunity.

A new, green building technology has been introduced in Kenya that may offer an alternative and cost-effective solution to building homes that eliminates the need for stone and timber.  In many cases, this seems like a win-win for local communities and conservationists alike.  Advantages of Expanded polystyrene (EPS) panels include; a) more cost-effective than traditional building materials, b) require less time to construct, c) made with recyclable materials, d) eliminates the need for timber so it can decrease pressure on forest ecosystems.  However, some argue that the technology might yet not be affordable enough for those living on the margins.

Currently, most of Kenya’s educational institutions depend on firewood as their main source of energy for cooking, contributing to deforestation and placing a financial burden on schools and universities due to rising prices for their fuel. In response, the Kenya Forest Service and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have initiated a project dubbed “Green Zone Development”, in which biogas technology is being introduced as an alternative energy source to learning facilities in the Rift Valley. 

Northern Kenya is undergoing rapid changes due in part to the recent discovery of oil and water and as a result increased road infrastructure throughout the region.  These changes include increased population, habitat fragmentation and competition for scarce resources.  Although it may appear as great potential for local communities to increase their livelihoods, the absence of appropriate governance mechanisms and security has set the stage for drastic increase in violent raiding atacks and other security threats as well as large-scale land-grabbing from outside wealthy investors.