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WORLD POLICY ON AIR

World Policy Journal is proud to share our weekly podcast, World Policy On Air, featuring former Newsweek On Air host David Alpern. Click here to subscribe on iTunes!

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The African Angle

The African Angle seeks to amplify the voices of contemporary African thought leaders speaking on issues of global concern. It is an initiative of The Africa-America InstituteFireside Research, and World Policy Journal.

To Ensure Food Security, Keep Soils Healthy

Soil degradation across the world has contributed to climate change, malnutrition, and poverty. Esther Ngumbi argues that national governments, NGOs, and research institutions need to step up to protect healthy soil and restore agricultural land. 

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Smart Slums, Smarter Cities

As climate change continues to affect weather patterns, floods are becoming a regular phenomenon in many African cities. Carl Manlan discusses how community-focused urban design can prevent extreme weather from destroying local economies.

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Organic Food Is Not Just for the Rich

In many parts of the world, organic food is regarded as a luxury item because it is significantly more expensive than conventional groceries. Nigerian biochemist Mojisola Ojebode explains how accessible and affordable organic food could improve Africa's environment, economy, and overall health.

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Rebooting Subsistence Agriculture in Rural Areas

The 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aim to end poverty and achieve zero hunger. Esther Ngumbi argues that promoting economic growth in rural areas and improving access to cities are key to achieving these goals.

 

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Liberia’s Ambitious Education Policy

Liberia's education system was hit hard by two civil wars and the outbreak of Ebola, and less than half of the country's 15- to 24-year-olds are literate. Responding to criticism of the cost and methods of the government's partnership with private education providers, Dr. Saaim Naame argues that academic achievement and quality of instruction should be given the most weight when evaluating the program.

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Can the Nigeria Solid Minerals Development Fund Deliver?

The Nigeria Solid Minerals Development Fund aims for the mining sector to contribute three percent of the country's GDP by 2025. George C. Lwanda explains how the fund must overcome gaps in geological data, prevalent illegal mining, and insufficient long-term investment spending in order to achieve this goal.

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Prioritizing Skin Bleaching as a Public Health Concern

Unrealistic beauty standards have led to a high prevalence of skin bleaching across Africa and around the world. Ogo Maduewesi explores the dire health risks of the chemicals in many skin-whitening products, and argues that this practice must be treated as a public-health concern.

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Popular Lynching in Madagascar

Incidents of lynching have become increasingly common in Madagascar in the past two years, and the government has been unable to stop them. Yvon Randriaharimalala suggests that reintegration of the historical Dina court system could empower communities to systematically resolve conflict rather than resorting to violence. 

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Stopping the Menace of the Fall Armyworm

From Ghana to Ethiopia, an infestation of the fall armyworm poses a threat to food security across Africa. Esther Ngumbi discusses ways that governments and international organizations can enhance their efforts to curb the spread and impact of this destructive pest.

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Is the United Nations Failing to Prevent Atrocity Crimes in Burundi?

Political violence in Burundi, triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial nomination for a third consecutive term in 2015, has triggered a large-scale refugee crisis. Amilcar Ryumeko describes how after months of U.N. meetings and statements, no concrete steps have been taken to effectively address the situation.

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Youth Unemployment and the Fight Against Terrorism in West Africa

Unemployed youth across West Africa can be tempted to join terrorist organizations that offer a steady source of income. Gertrude Adwoa Offeibea Ansaaku argues that helping young people find jobs and reducing economic inequality will reduce the threat posed by violent extremist groups.

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A Kenyan Approach to Preventing Violent Extremism

Discussions of women's roles in preventing violent extremism often focus on the individuals who join terrorist groups, rather than those who can combat radicalization in their communities. Fauziya Ali argues that local and national authorities in Kenya should engage women in ways that address gender inequality and mistrust of police.

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Time for Africans to Take the Driver's Seat

 The U.S. government's proposed cuts to foreign aid threaten the future of millions of people in poor nations like Malawi. Ellen Chilemba argues that lives should not depend on the outcome of U.S. elections, and African citizens must take the lead in improving social and economic conditions on the continent.

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Sudan at a Crossroads

Now that U.S. sanctions may soon be lifted, Sudan must consider how to fully re-enter the international community. Yousif Yahya argues that policy-makers in Khartoum should channel resources into education and research to ensure the average citizen will reap the benefits of global engagement.

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A New Approach to End Malnutrition in Africa

Africa is the only continent in the world where malnutrition is on the rise. Mercy Lung'aho argues that implementing systems to track chronic malnutrition and predict food security risks can help avert crises. 

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Infection Control and Hygiene in the Face of Ebola

Nearly three years after the outbreak of Ebola, inadequate sanitation continues to threaten the health of Nigeria's citizens and economy. Adeyemi Adewole details the measures being taken in rural regions to provide infection-control products and change public attitudes toward hygiene.

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Farmers Must Adopt Agricultural Practices that Improve Soil Health

Healthy soils are critical to global food production, but many farmers have yet to adopt practices that can improve soil resilience and increase yields. Esther Ngumbi discusses steps the scientific community must take to share recent advancements with farmers in Africa and around the world.

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Khartoum Should Mediate, Not Instigate 

The current diplomatic crisis in the Gulf puts Sudan, which has several key allies in the region, in a delicate position. Yousif Yahya explains why Khartoum must continue its efforts to mediate rather than take sides in the dispute.

 

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Youth Must be Trusted to Lead in Africa

Solving the youth employment puzzle in sub-Saharan Africa requires a shift in thinking about the roles young people play in their communities. Reem Rahman and Lynsey Farrell explore how new organizations are empowering students to assume leadership roles and meaningfully engage in their own career development.

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Africa’s Hidden Drought: A Desert of Agriculture Policy

For Africa's smallholder farmers, policies are often a hidden menace, doing as much damage to production as more obvious challenges like drought. Boaz Blackie Keizire explores the case of one farmer in Kenya whose success can be traced to deliberate interventions that improved access to quality seeds and fertilizers.

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Education in Kenya Needs Faster Reform

Nearly 2 million Kenyan children attend private, community, and faith schools that operate outside the formal regulatory structure. Chris Wamalwa, a member of Kenya's National Assembly, explains why registering these informal schools is critical to improving education access in under-served communities.

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A Universal African Basic Income

Guaranteeing basic income in Africa would provide a safety net and kick-start young people's participation in the economy. Carl Manlan argues an African-funded universal basic income program should be paired with industrialization and tax reforms to boost the continent's prosperity.

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The Use of Rhetoric Promoting Sexual Violence in Burundi

Amid a political crisis that has produced hundreds of thousands of refugees in Burundi, the youth wing of the ruling party has begun to espouse rhetoric that promotes sexual violence toward women. Amilcar Ryumeko examines the use of inflammatory speech to intimidate political opponents, emphasizing the need for direct action to protect human rights. 

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The Use of Mimosa as a Source of Renewable Green Energy

Nigeria's unreliable electric power supply and reliance on traditional sources of energy, like firewood, is not sustainable. Justus Nwaoga explains how using a medicinal plant, the mimosa weed, to make solar panels could provide a renewable energy source for markets across Africa. 

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Youth Unemployment is Unsolvable Without Addressing 'Waithood'

As traditional rites of passage diminish, youth across Africa can find it increasingly difficult to fully transition into adulthood. Reem Rahman and Lynsey Farrell discuss the ways social entrepreneurs are encouraging intergenerational bonds to help young people overcome this period of "waithood."

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Trump's UNFPA Aid Cuts Will Deepen Poverty

President Trump announced earlier this month that he would cut U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund, which distributes aid to organizations that provide reproductive health services. Ariong Moses argues the cuts could trigger a population boom in Africa, putting pressure on the continent's resources and threatening stability.

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Youth Employment Imperative: Shifting from Youth Exploitation or Entitlement to Rewarding Meaningful Contributions

Employment programs that rely on unpaid, voluntary participation often struggle to keep young people engaged in their work. Reem Rahman and Lynsey Farrell describe how social entrepreneurs across Africa are finding creative ways to offer compensation and opportunities for youth who invest their own time and money in volunteer programs.

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Engaging Our Microbe Allies in the Battle Against the Fall Armyworm in Africa

The fall armyworm is an invasive pest that is decimating crop fields and threatening food security across Africa. Entomologist and researcher Esther Ngumbi outlines possible solutions, including the use of beneficial soil microbes to contain the spread of the harmful insect.    

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To Prepare Young People for 21st-Century Jobs, Design Classrooms Beyond Walls

Schools and social entrepreneurs in many African countries are organizing hands-on experiences where students apply classroom knowledge to solve community problems. Reem Rahman and Lynsey Farrell outline the strategies and creative financing approaches behind these innovative educational opportunities.

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How Purpose and Holistic Health are Foundational for Youth Career Development

Youth unemployment is a stubborn scourge in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, where school systems often produce more test takers than critical thinkers. Reem Rahman and Lynsey Farrell explain how social innovators are seeking to close the gap in post-education unemployment by providing young people with purpose and holistic health.

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The Anglophone Problem

Since Cameroon's independence, its Anglophone population has clashed with the Francophone-dominated government, leading to a mass strike in late 2016. Charles Kouasseu argues that a multi-state federation with representatives accountable to the public is needed to resolve the problem.

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Redefining What Counts as a "Good" Job

Unemployment in many African countries is exacerbated by the pervasive idea that informal jobs are not viable career options. Reem Rahman and Lynsey Farrell share the ways entrepreneurs across the continent are reversing these stereotypes and connecting youth to alternative industries.

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Costs and Benefits of the CFA Franc

After independence, many former French colonies in West and Central Africa signed monetary cooperation agreements with France. Today, Issiaka Coulibaly argues, these countries should seek more flexibility in shaping their own monetary policies and focus on strengthening regional economic integration.

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Sudan After Sanctions

The Obama administration's decision to ease sanctions on Sudan earlier this year came as a surprise to many. Yousif Yahya describes the steps Sudan can take to restore its regional role now that restrictions on financial dealings with Sudanese companies have been lifted. 

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Somaliland: A Stable and Independent State, But No Recognition 

With a new U.S. president in office, Somaliland, an autonomous region in the northeastern part of Somalia, may have a chance at gaining international recognition as an independent state. Nimo Ismail discusses what stands in the way of recognition for this safe haven in an otherwise volatile region. 

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Continuing the Wins in Soil Health Restoration in Africa

Sixty-five percent of Africa's soils are degraded, resulting in low crop yields and perpetuating the poverty trap. Esther Ngumbi advocates for soil conservation practices to be scaled up across the continent to enhance agricultural production and food security. 

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Success in Addis Ababa: AU Commission Finally Elects a Chairperson

On Jan. 30, the African Union elected a chairperson to its Commission after failing to reach the required two-thirds majority last July. John Mukum Mbaku lays out the challenges that the victor, Moussa Faki Mahamat of Chad, will face, from threats to security and development to a bureaucracy in need of reform. 

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Giants Awaken: Gambia's Civil Society Revives Its Role 

Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh finally stepped down on Jan. 21 after days of protests and Adama Barrow's swearing-in at the Gambian embassy in Senegal. Sanna Camara analyzes the role that civil society played in this political crisis, celebrating the re-emergence of citizens' voices in public debate.

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The Slow Repatriation Process of Somali Refugees in Dadaab

For over 20 years, Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp has been a home to Somalis fleeing drought and armed conflict. Though the Kenyan government has committed to closing Dadaab, Andrew Maina writes that the process of voluntary repatriation will be slow and complicated due to problems with infrastructure, rule of law, and weather conditions in Somalia.    

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Talking Policy: Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi on the African Union

At the end of January, the African Union will elect a new chairperson. World Policy Journal spoke to Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, foreign minister of the Republic of Botswana and a candidate for the position, about the African Union's role in addressing key challenges and realizing the continent's potential. 

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Looking to Nature for Solutions to Societies' Problems

Human societies face tremendous challenges, including disease epidemics and the life-altering impacts of climate change. To find better ways to address these issues, Wilfred Ndifon argues people should apply principles learned from nature.

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Promoting Health Literacy for Women

Despite opportunities for education and career advancement, many women still face misogyny at home. Bisi Bright argues that the effectiveness of health literacy initiatives across Africa hinges on women being empowered to make key decisions for themselves and their families.

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Toward a Pan-Africanist Perspective on Science

The legacies of South Africa's colonial and apartheid history can still be found in the country's education system. Over a year since student protests began, Ndumiso Daluxolo Ngidi defends recent calls for a decolonized science, detailing the importance of promoting indigenous scientific knowledge in academic spaces.

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Re-thinking Farming as Climate Change Continues to Ravage Africa

Record-breaking temperatures and severe droughts along the Kenyan coast have left farmers helpless as their crops wither and die. Esther Ngumbi explains how learning and implementing strategies to deal with water shortages will help farmers produce food in a changing environment.

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Gambia: Social Media Overwhelms a 20-Year Dictator

The evening before the Gambian presidential election, internet traffic ground to a halt as the incumbent president blocked access throughout the country. Sanna Camara describes the vital role social media played in effecting democratic change and the importance of online freedom.

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The African Perception of Africans

From European colonization to de facto South African rule, Namibia's history has contributed to a multicultural and multiracial society. Zodidi J. Gaseb describes the efforts of younger Namibians to combat tribal stereotypes and to navigate identity and self-expression.

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Quality in African Universities: The Need for a New Narrative

African universities often rank low on global indices, but not for a lack of commitment and creativity among scholars. Mary Njeri Kinyanjui argues that to improve the quality of education and research, institutions must not be beholden to Western funders and academics should be encouraged to pursue innovative thinking.

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#FeesMustFall 2.0

Across South Africa, university students continue the Fees Must Fall movement, calling for the free education promised by the ruling African National Congress. Faith Kiarie discusses the ANC's lack of urgency to resolve this crisis and its growing disconnect with the country's youth.

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Where's the Starting Point? Kenya's Corruption Quagmire

Despite President Kenyatta's rhetoric condemning corruption, graft still pervades Kenya's political institutions. Isaac Otidi Amuke compares the Kenyan situation to the recent investigations of South Africa's office of the public protector, pointing to the capacity of independent state agencies to prosecute corrupt officials in the absence of political will at the top levels of government. 

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Africa Without Numbers: Mission Impossible

Data is power, and those who can access the numbers can create narratives to serve their own purposes. Carl Manlan discusses the power of reclaiming statistics from international donors so that African governments can more accurately assess their countries' needs and plan for economic development. 

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“Cashgate” Exposed the Moral Deficit in Malawi

The theft of $32 million over six months by Malawian government officials was exposed in late 2013 in what became known as the Cashgate scandal. Rev. James Tengatenga argues that the case reveals less about a political or legal failure than it does about a culture of impunity and a moral deficit in Malawian society.

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Lessons from Africa's History of Jihad

Despite the popular perception that today's jihadist insurgencies are “clashes of civilization” founded on resistance to change, the history of Islam in Africa shows that belief to be largely incorrect. Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos argues that movements of Islamic rebirth have been intricately tied to innovation, state-building, and the adjustment to modernity.

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What Canada Can Do to Help Resolve the Burundi Crisis

Burundi has been in political turmoil for over a year, with hundreds of citizens murdered and over 300,000 now refugees. As countries like Canada consider how to respond, Amilcar Ryumeko outlines concrete steps for the international community to take before the human rights situation gets worse.

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Hope for Uganda's HIV-Infected Children 

Uganda has made great strides in the provision of care for people living with HIV/AIDS. Phoebe Kajubi examines the government's response to the health crisis and the impact of antiretroviral treatment programs for HIV-infected children. 

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Brain and Muscle Drain in Somalia

Brain drain has long been cited as a problem facing Somalia and other countries across Africa. Nimo Ismail explains why muscle drain, the departure of uneducated youth, must also be considered when analyzing the effects of emigration and developing a sustainable democracy. 

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Address Violence Against Women and Girls Now!

In Uganda and countries around the world, violence against women and girls is commonplace, perpetuated by social norms that permit various forms of abuse. Tina Musuya outlines community interventions that can change gender dynamics and fight these human rights violations.

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To Tackle Polio, Nigeria Must Tackle Boko Haram

Two new cases have emerged since Nigeria was declared free of endemic polio last year. Ify Aniebo argues that the Nigerian government’s failure to control Boko Haram and insufficient attention to health care services in conflict areas have led to the resurfacing of the crippling disease.

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The Continuing Need for Diverse Voices on Africa

Locally-informed, nuanced perspectives are often lacking in international media coverage of issues related to Africa. David Stevens speaks to the importance of including African voices in global policy conversations.

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Immunization is Key to Healthy Systems in Africa

The resurgence of polio in Nigeria and efforts to expand vaccination highlight the social, political, and bureaucratic difficulties in eradicating infectious diseases, particularly in areas affected by conflict. Dr. Folake Olayinka argues that health care services must become more reliable and proactive to increase vaccination coverage in many African countries.

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The Migration Crisis and African Asylum Seekers

Eight of the 10 athletes on the Refugee Olympic Team are of African origin. As the refugee crisis has become one of the key stories of this year’s Olympic Games, Andrew Maina explains that African migrants will continue to seek asylum as long as there is persecution and violent conflict in their home countries, and structural inequality in the international economic system.

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The Gambia Government's Involvement in Trafficking 

Although The Gambia’s government has ended its official labor agreement with Qatar, it is an open secret that traffickers bring young Gambians boys and girls to work in the Middle East. Sanna Camara discusses the government’s involvement in this well-orchestrated system of contemporary enslavement, revealing the abuse and exploitation these young children are subjected to. 

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Environmental Management: A Malaria Control Strategy for Nigeria

Nigeria has the world’s highest burden of malaria mortality, accounting for more than 20 percent of malaria deaths in 2015. Oluwatomisin Ogundipe argues that environmental management is necessary to improve Nigeria’s current malaria initiative and reduce the country’s high death toll.

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A Multi-Sectoral Approach to Education Reform

Kenya recently unveiled a steering committee to overhaul the country’s education system, a task that the government has shied away from for years. Raphael Obonyo argues that a multi-sectoral approach involving public and private actors is necessary for comprehensive reform given Kenya's limited education budget.  

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Toward Peaceful and Credible Elections in Ghana

Following a disputed vote in 2012, Ghana's 2016 general election is crucial to the country's democratic future. Ransford Gyampo argues that the Christian Council of Ghana must use its relationship with Ghanaian people to ensure credible and peaceful elections in December.

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Education in Liberia: Disrupt the Status Quo

Almost 13 years after the end of the Liberian Civil War, schools remain unequipped to educate the country’s war-affected children. Ahmed Konneh argues that the Partnership Schools for Liberia Initiative provides a unique opportunity to redefine the current, failed model by utilizing private providers to administer high-quality public education. 

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Build trust, not jails, to improve immunization in Africa

In March, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a new law that will put parents in jail who fail to vaccinate their children. Given Africa’s distrust of the pharmaceutical industry and of government, Ify Aniebo asks, could coercive immunization laws work?

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The Trans-Gambia Highway: Integration or Isolation?

There have been six border closures between The Gambia and Senegal since 2000. Sanna Camara discusses the contentious, ongoing border issue and proposes that the Trans-Gambia Bridge would a solution for enduring stability between the two countries. 

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What Will It Take To End Child Marriage?

Despite widespread condemnation and laws against the practice, many girls across the world are forced into marriage at a young age. Agnes Ariho Babugura discusses the debilitating consequences of child marriage and argues that long-term investment in cultural change is needed to end it.

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African Philanthropists and Economic Progress 

The rise of Africa's billionaire industrialists is accompanied by increased philanthropic ventures across the continent. Carl Manlan contends that well-designed projects addressing social problems can contribute to economic transformation.

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Baby Aisha & the Challenge to the Gambian State

Protesters have been calling for electoral and political reform in the Gambia since April 14, and dozens have been arrested. Sanna Camara discusses President Jammeh's intolerance of dissent and how an infant girl was caught in the crosshairs of government repression.

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Time to Honor Promises

The #FeesMustFall campaign last year reflected students' frustration with the high costs that make university education inaccessible to many. Faith Kiarie argues that the South African government must listen to young people's demands to reform an education system that is increasing rather than reducing inequality.

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Immunization is Key to Healthy Systems in Africa

Routine immunization systems are falling behind in many African countries, contributing to the resurgence of infectious diseases such as yellow fever. Dr. Folake Olayi