Farmers with irrigation channels

Irrigating Africa: can small-scale farmers lead the way?

by Ian Scoones, Felix Murimbarimba and Jacob Mahenehene We often hear that irrigation in Africa is too limited, and that the key to a “green revolution” on the continent is to expand to levels seen in Asia. But what if there is much more small-scale, informal irrigation in Africa than we thought? Could this be…

farmers in dryland landscape

Five problems with ‘integrated assesment’ models, and what to do about them

What are the most appropriate ways of understanding changes in natural resource change in rural areas, particularly in the context of climate change? How can we make use of data that is patchy and uncertain? How can models help decision-making about future management? These questions are at the heart of three recently published journal articles…

Mana pools, Zimbabwe

NEW PAPER: People, patches and parasites

Just out in Human Ecology is a new paper – People, patches and parasites: the case of trypanosomiasis in Zimbabwe. It’s open access, so do have a look! It presents the results of a project looking at the socio-ecology of disease in Africa – part of the Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium –…

Tsetse fly

To combat neglected tropical diseases, we need more than just drugs and vaccines

Neglected tropical diseases have been in the news this week. A big meeting at the World Health Organisation in Geneva has resulted in big pledges from the UK aid progamme and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to banish the scourge affecting around a billion people worldwide. This is good news, and to be commended….

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….

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….

Are China and Brazil transforming African agriculture?

A new Open Access Special Issue in World Development based on our work on the changing role of China and Brazil in Africa’s agriculture is now available (links to individual articles are below, and also via here).

The political economy of small-scale mining in Zimbabwe

There was much discussion about small-scale and artisanal mining at the STEPS Centre’s Resource Politics conference last month. This is where resources and politics come together; perhaps especially so in Zimbabwe. Ever since the enactment of  Zimbabwe’s Mines and Minerals Act, which gives the state rights over mineral resources wherever they are found, mining has been controversial. In the colonial period,…

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…

STEPS Director Ian Scoones wins ESRC Impact Award

STEPS Director Ian Scoones was a winner of the Outstanding International Impact Award at the ESRC’s 50th anniversary Celebrating Impact Award ceremony, for his work on rural livelihoods in Zimbabwe. ESRC Blog: Building impact over time: experiences from Zimbabwe by Ian Scoones The awards recognise and reward the successes of ESRC-funded researchers who are achieving…