Hunger and HIV: have we misread the landscape?

Some of the most important questions we have concern large and extreme events of which we have little experience and few examples. We don’t learn nearly as much as we could from those examples: interrogate them as experiments-at-scale, look for variation in exposure and outcomes; test hypotheses against them. The number of people in the…

Ebola: identifying the true game-changers

Compared to this time last year, news about Ebola is hugely more encouraging. Although not over, the number of new cases per week tends to be in single figures instead of the hundreds. Out of the tragedy there have been some awe-inspiring achievements, such as the recent news that a vaccine had proven 100% effective…

Debating Science and Technology for Development in Africa

By Ian Scoones, Director of the STEPS Centre At an event today we will be debating the STISA-2024 (Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa) initiative by the African Union (AU), the latest attempt to bring science and technology to the centre of the development debate in Africa. The STISA-2024 document opens with a rousing…

Cecil the Lion and Zimbabwe’s conservation carve-up

The huge uproar generated by the shooting of Cecil the lion provides a fascinating lens into Zimbabwe’s new elite land politics and the relationship between humans and “wild” nature. The country’s extensive game ranches and conservancies were mostly subject to land reform in the early 2000s. Many of the former owners were evicted, along with…

Tackling climate change: the contested politics of forest carbon projects in Africa

Tackling climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our age. And this year is a crucial moment with the Conference of the Parties meeting in Paris in December 2015 hopefully to forge a new climate agreement. Forests, carbon and their management are high on the agenda, and a new book has just…

STISA-2024: Debating Africa’s “Blueprint” for Science, Technology & Innovation

The desire to enhance the strategic use of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), and public policies in achieving Africa’s socio-economic and development aspirations started decades ago. We know that as early as in the 1970s efforts to build relevant science and technology (S&T) capabilities in Africa (pdf) were well underway, both supported from within Africa…

What Greece can learn from Africa about the effects of austerity after a debt crisis

Ian Scoones, republished from The Conversation   Some have asked what can Africa learn from Greece. I argue that Greece (and others) can learn a lot from the African experience. Debt is on the rise again not just in Greece, but across the world. A decline in commodity prices with a strengthening of the US…

Could changes in beef market regulations open opportunities in southern Africa?

Last month at the OIE (World Animal Health Organisation) Assembly in Paris, changes to international regulatory standards around Foot and Mouth Disease were adopted. This has long been argued for, and will make a big difference to livestock producers across southern Africa. The updated OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code makes it possible for African countries with wild…

Africa Sustainability Hub will promote low-carbon opportunities

A new African sustainability research hub will make a “huge contribution” to promoting low carbon economic development in Kenya, according to a speech on Wednesday 10th June by Hon. Henry Rotich, Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury. The speech was delivered by Prof Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, at…