Food Security Fears Fuel Agricultural Land Grab in West Africa, Weak Property Rights Slow Investment
"Rising food prices, coupled with fears over future food security, as the global population moves towards the 9 billion mark in 2050, has led to a rush to acquire land for agriculture in West Africa (and other parts of the world) by foreign governments to grow their own food. As prices rise, foreign private investors have also seen an opportunity to make good returns on on agricultural investments through land leases."
"Land leases are mainly driven by Middle Eastern and Asian countries whose populations are growing rapidly, in the face of limited arable land."
West African Governments Prioritize Agriculture,Try to Engage Youth; Urbanized Middle Class Creates Domestic/Import Market
"Governments in the region have signed the continent wide Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) compact. They have committed to spend at least 10% of their budgets on agriculture. CAADP aims to push agriculture growth to at least 6% annual growth in food production by 2015 through increased research and technology dissemination, improved food supply chains, extending areas under agriculture and improved infrastructure and trade-related capacities."
"Government efforts are also being complemented by those of
Saudi Government Invests in Women/Girls' Education
"Saudi Arabia has invested large sums of money in the education sector, and has recently begun placing more emphasis and importance on improving the conditions of female education in the country."
"There are several constraints in furthering female education that are prevalent in Saudi society, and the government is partnering with other sectors to change the situation. Local customs and traditions and early marriages for girls is the biggest cause for drop-outs amongst girls, especially in secondary school. The curriculum in girls’ schools has not been revised in over 20 years."
School Food Programs in Middle East Successful, Have Additional Benefit of Boosting Enrollment, Gender Equity
"The success of school feeding programmes in Jordan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia has inspired poor countries such as Yemen, Syria and Iraq to introduce similar initiatives for improving the health, nutrition and education of school-age children. The provision of food fortified with micronutrients provides nutritional support and alleviates short- term hunger for school children in the most food insecure areas of these countries."
Sports Tourism Drives Infrastructure Development in GCC Countries, South Africa
"Over the past few years, [Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf] countries are witnessing the rise of sport townships, hi-tech stadiums and coaching academies... The sports events are indirectly linked to infrastructure development which includes housing, building and expanding roads and modernizing public transportation systems. Dubai has installed the region’s first monorail system. Qatar has approved the Doha Metro project which is likely to be completed by 2015. Similar projects are taking shape in other GCC countries as well.
Turkish/Islamic Traditions of Charity Driving Formation of NGOs/Philanthropic Orgs
"The practise of charity is deep rooted in Turkey owing to Islamic teaching, and giving alms to the poor was the main activity of the time. While this practise has continued, it has emerged in new forms, where tradition, culture and religion provide an important base for philanthropic endeavours. According to some surveys, 66 per cent of individual donations are given to non-religious organizations. A correlation has been found between an increase in income and increase in donations, specially in Central Anatolia and Western Turkey."
New Culture Among Providers in West Africa to Increase Telecom Access
A new 14000km, ultra-high capacity (5 terabits per second) fibre-optic submarine cable made landfall on the west coast of Western Cape... after landing stops in 13 countries, 11 of which are on Africa's west coast. The cable is the first to be funded by all South Africa's major telecoms operators... The “open access model” employed for WACS (West African Cable System) is a system that allows all the funders or telecoms operators that own bandwidth capacity on the cable to have equal access, despite them not having landing sites of their own...."
Minerals and Metals Can Be Extracted From Acid Mine Wastewater
South Africa’s acid mine drainage wastewater is ‘mineable’... According to Dr Anthony Turton, director of Touchstone Resources, consideration should be given to studying the economic feasibility of ‘mining’ South Africa’s problematic acid mine drainage (AMD) and wastewater (mentioned in the December 2010 Scan) for metals, minerals, salt and even hydrogen. Turton is a protagonist not only of ‘mining’ AMD, but also the water in sewage works and obtaining phosphate, which is crucial for food security, as a by product."
Transition to "Modern" Agricultural Infrastructure Leaves Middle-Class Households Vulnerable to Drought
"Middle income households may become more vulnerable to droughts as they transition away from traditional from traditional to modern agricultural
agriculture towards more modern agricultural livelihood strategies -evidence from Malawi and Botswana."
Implications from South Africa Horizon Scan:
The Power of Organized Crime in Africa and Beyond
"A networked world, governance failures and economic disparity create opportunities for... illegal activities to flourish."
"Violence resulting from organised criminal net-works is arguably the most common threat to Africa’s urban centers."