Colony of bats flying in a blue sky.

One Health Day: 3 November 2016

Read our ‘One Health stories’ on how research from the STEPS-led Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa consortium was used to inform responses to zoonotic disease.

The sugar rush in southern Africa

In a new post on his Zimbabweland blog, STEPS director Ian Scoones discusses a new special issue looking at sugar in South Africa. “It is a good moment to review the political economy of sugar in southern Africa. This is what a new open access special issue of the Journal of Southern African Studies does….

Empowering chickens?

In his latest Zimbabweland blog, STEPS director Ian Scoones looks at the latest scheme from Bill Gates to distribute chickens to help poor rural women.

Why we should stop talking about ‘desertification’

A great new book has just been published called ‘The End of Desertification? Disputing Environmental Change in the Drylands’, available at a shocking price from Springer. It is edited by two people who know a thing or two about these issues – Roy Behnke and Mike Mortimore – and it has 20 top quality chapters…

Why Britain’s decision to leave the EU is bad news for Africa

The fallout from the UK referendum that ended in victory for those wanting the country to exit from the European Union (EU) is still reverberating around the world. But what does it mean for Africa? The decision will fundamentally affect the continent’s relationship with Britain. It will have an impact on trade, aid and diplomacy….

Brexit and development

As Britain faces the prospect of leaving the European Union, here’s a couple of blog posts on what the referendum result might mean for the UK’s role in international development. Ian Scoones on Brexit and Africa: Why Britain’s Decision to leave the EU is bad news for Africa  “The decision will fundamentally affect the continent’s…

Engineers working on solar technology

How can African countries really provide sustainable energy for poor people?

Last month, delegates drawn from across the world gathered at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi for the second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) to discuss the theme ‘Delivering on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. I was privileged to be a panelist at a side event on ‘Sustainable…

Research collaboration for global challenges: why it’s really hard

On 17-18 March at London Zoo was the final conference of a project I have been involved in over the past four years on zoonoses, ecosystems and wellbeing in Africa. The conference highlighted the idea of ‘One Health’, a movement aimed at linking human, livestock and ecosystem health. The focus was on how to make…

Chinese engagement in African agriculture is not what it seems

In December 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping flew into South Africa for the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation with great fanfare. There were lots of announcements about prospective investments across Africa. Agriculture featured prominently. But what is the real story of China in Africa on the ground, beyond the hype? As Deborah Brautigam’s investigative research has…

Exporting China and Brazil’s agricultural know-how to Africa

Can China and Brazil use their home grown agricultural knowledge, which has driven phenomenal agricultural productivity at home, to transform agriculture in Africa? That was one of many questions discussed at the Contested Agronomy conference. When Lidia Cabral interviewed a Brazilian agronomist from Embrapa, Brazil’s agricultural research corporation in Mozambique, he talked to her about…