Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 7–20 October 2010


Source: SciDev.Net

Below is a roundup of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 7–20 October 2010

Cattle plague eradicated, scientists announce
Scientists celebrated the eradication of the deadly cattle plague rinderpest last Friday (15 October). It is only the second time, following the eradication of smallpox 30 years ago, that a viral disease has been wiped out. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization will formally announce the achievement by the end of the year, and the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme's operations will cease.

Africa told to do its own climate modelling
Africa must carry out its own climate change projections, the former vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said. According to Richard Odingo, if this was the case, the continent could have its data fed into the IPCC's assessments for Africa. He was speaking ahead of the Seventh African Development Forum (12–15 October). Collaborations between Africa and universities in the West were not 'good enough', he said. 'Africa should think big and do their own climate change modelling to forecast projections.'

Include Francophone countries, network told
Scientists from French-speaking countries in Africa want to be fully integrated into the structures, functions and operations of the African Drugs and Diagnostics Innovations (ANDI) network. They were speaking at the third ANDI stakeholders conference in Nairobi, Kenya, last week. The first step towards integration was made when Cameroon was picked to join ANDI's 12 member board.

Cape Verde gets funding for giant onshore wind farms
One of the biggest onshore wind farms in Africa will be built in Cape Verde, in a project being touted as a renewable energy model for the continent. The project, funded with 45 million Euros (around US$ 63 million) by the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank, will provide more than 28 megawatts of electricity-generating capacity and will reduce the islands' dependence on imported fossil fuel. The EIB said that 'this will be the first large scale wind project in Africa and first renewable energy public–private partnership in Sub-Saharan Africa.'

Banana Wikipedia for Africa
A wide range of reliable spatial information on bananas in Africa will soon be available in an online dictionary. The dictionary, developed by a German university student under the direction of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) scientists will contain information on growing areas, the socioeconomic status of growers, pests and diseases, and yields, among others. It will be regularly maintained to ensure accuracy, scientists said. The crop, a staple food for many on the continent, is currently faced with the spread of two deadly diseases — Banana Xanthomonas Wilt and the viral Banana Bunchy Top Disease.

Uganda government to popularise solar energy
The government of Uganda has created a fund to lend money for installation of solar panels. The scheme is part of the government's plan to ensure adequate, reliable and affordable energy for citizens and to spur economic growth in the country. 'Energy is the driver of industrialisation, which subsequently increases employment and economic growth,' state energy minister, Simon D'Ujanga, told a regional energy efficiency workshop last week.

Russia to assist Angola build a satellite
Angola is to begin the construction of a satellite christened Angosat, with the assistance of Russia. The country hopes that Angosat will help meet economic growth needs in even the most remote areas of the country and help turn Angola into an active member of the information society. The four-year project is estimated to cost US$327 million. Construction will begin this month following analysis by the Angolan Cabinet Council.

Namibia to asses wind energy resources
A new project to develop an accurate knowledge base of the country's wind resources brings Namibia closer to its plans of making better use of renewable energies. The Polytechnic of Namibia will install measuring equipment on telecommunications company MTC's masts, with technological equipment and support from the company. '...policymakers will be able to make informed decisions, knowing for example what kind of energy technology is to be deployed where,' said Gert Gunzel, vice-rector at the polytechnic.

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