01 August 2021

Kenya: According to the article’s author, Nairobi has become an art hub, on a level with Lagos and Cape Town. Equipped with many pictures, the article gives a brief introduction to the Kenyan and East African art scene.

31 July 2021

Ghana/Sex education: Comprehensive sexuality education means to provide “learners with information that is scientifically correct, appropriate to their age and development and sensitive to local cultures as well as legal provisions”. A study in three Ghanaian regions (Greater Accra, Brong Ahafo and Northern) looked into 1) sexual and reproductive physiology; 2) HIV and sexually transmitted infections prevention; 3) contraception and pregnancy prevention; 4) gender and sexual and reproductive health; 5) values and interpersonal skills. And it investigated when (which grade) students learnt about sexuality. The study found that disproportionate attention was being given to sexual and reproductive physiology and hardly any to the four other topics, with “pupils who studied sexuality education topics between Primary 6 (around 11 years) and Junior High School 1-3 (around 12 to 14 or 15 years) (having) better chances of being introduced to a wider range of the content.” Conclusion: sexuality education topics need to be introduced early (“norms and values formed early in life tend to be more enduring than those learned in older adolescence”). Yet in practice, this issue is highly contentious, with resistance coming from parents, teachers, school administrators and religious leaders.
As “(i)nitiating sexual activities with little to no information is more perilous than doing so with adequate information”, good sexuality education has very desirable outcomes: delay of the sexual debut, higher use of contraceptives, safe sex; it reduces unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections and HIV infections and positively influences gender norms.

Cameroon/Nigeria: The country is estimate to lose 60m USD each year “through the illegal exploitation of timber”. On top of that, this timber trade may benefit terrorists (incl. Boko Haram) and separatists in Cameroon and Nigeria. With Nigeria’s timber resources depleted, it has become a “transshipment state”. Improving bilateral cooperation would help a good deal against illegal trade/exploitation.

Cameroon: Baby-trading has been practiced for many years. In January, “an investigation into a network of traffickers who allegedly buy babies from the country and then sell them in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Chad” has been opened. Poor teenage mothers with few prospects and no safety net are the most likely to be “approached and exploited by baby traffickers”, with 2,000 USD being paid for a “fragile” new-born and 6,000 USD for a healthy more than 3-monts-old. The state is not doing hardly anything to fight baby trading.

Kenya/Uganda: For as little as 5.46 USD, girls from Uganda’s Moroto District in Karamoja region are bought, then transferred to Kampala, Busia and finally Nairobi to be employed as domestic workers – for monthly salaries as low as 50 US cents. Little is being done to stop this form of human trafficking.

Kenya: Charcoal is of high importance in the country – on the consumption side (for cooking) and on the production side (for earning an income). Yet it hurts the environment. Yet it is cheaper than its alternatives (mainly because the wood for it is “for free” out there in the woods). “The solution to charcoal dependency and smuggling lies outside the sector. Cleaner and more modern cooking fuels, such as electricity and liquefied petroleum gas, should be made cheaper to encourage households to use these as a preferred source of energy.”

Beetles lack orientation because of Jo’burg’s skyglow: Skies in the metropolis are between 10 and 100 times brighter than in rural Limpopo. The Johannesburg skyglow almost completely obscures the Milky Way and most other star patterns. This is a problem for dung beetles who use the milky way for orientation – it tells them in which direction to roll their dung balls.

Benin: Five abductions have been reported by the media in northern hilly parts of the country between November 2019 and September 2020. Armed and highway robberies having been observed since 2005, increased police presence and border surveillance made bandits revert to kidnapping for ransom after 2015. Wealthy local herders are the main target. Fulanis (Peulh) are accused of being involved in the kidnappings. This means intra- or inter-communal tensions. There is also the danger of kidnappers and terrorists cooperating – though there has been absolutely no evidence for this so far.