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Muslim institutions and child beggars in Western Africa

For families living in extreme poverty, figuring out how to feed your kids can be the ultimate challenge. From this perspective, sending your child into the capital to beg for food might become the rational option. In the chaos and hardship that comes along with a life wherein a mother sees a great chance for her child to survive begging in the streets as opposed to living at home, a religious institution that may as well abuse children becomes a more secure, orderly, and structured option.

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Carbon Markets not universally accessible

One of the many ideas behind carbon credits is that it can be a source of revenue for poorer countries who do not max out their carbon emission allowances. ACET however illustrates how the poorest countries do not have the capacity to make use of these new tools.

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Conditional Cash Transfers gaining in popularity

“West Africa lags behind in major education outcomes, especially enrollment of the girl child. [Therefore] Nigeria launched a Conditional Cash Transfer program called ‘In Care of the Poor (COPE)’ to provide cash transfers as well as skills training and micro-enterprise start-up funding. Beneficiaries get monthly payments for one year only, on condition that they send their children to school and get them vaccinated. If they satisfy the conditions for the year, they receive a further one-off grant to help them start up a small business.

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West Africa determined to continue financial integration

“Led by the francophone bloc, West Africa has been a world pace setter in financial integration. For half a century before the euro was launched, 60% of West African countries had been successfully sharing a common currency—the CFA under West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) with a central bank located in Abijan, Ivory Coast. The ambition, over the next decade is to create a second common currency for the five non-francophone countries (Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Gambia), and to merge the two currencies into a single currency for the region by 2020.”

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Mopeds taking over public transportation in West Africa

Due to poor infrastructure and declining economies, many West African countries have seen a large rise in Moped transportation.

“The moped revolution is one of the most evident expressions of informality in contemporary West Africa. It economics is straightforward. The Chinese economy is capable of delivering motor-cycles at affordable prices so people buy and use them. The conditions under which they do so are however very problematic.

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Sources:

CDD November 2011 pgs. 7-11
http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/CDD_Nov2011.pdf#pg=7

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The out-migration of West African cities

A few years ago the world reached 50% urbanization for the first time in history. The drive towards urbanization was perhaps primarily sparked by the rural poor moving towards ‘green’ or more concrete pastures, as it were. The reverse in starting to happen in West Africa however. As urban centers are now too congested, unsafe, unsanitary, and without employment opportunities, people are returning to the rural communities.

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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."

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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...."

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financial integration promotes democracy in West Africa

Speculation about the disciplining power of financial globalization has been taking place for quite some time now. During election violence in Ivory Coast earlier in 2011 we may have seen this happening. West Africa is according to some people perhaps the most financially integrated region in the world other than the Eurozone. This integration proved to provide some level of discipline during the Ivory Coast election violence.

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Corrupt roadside checkpoints driving down regional trade

“The plethora of checkpoints dotted along the major transit points across the sub-region adds excessive costs to merchants especially since these checkpoints have become hubs of corruption. The ECA has reported that there was a total of 69 checkpoints on the route between Lagos (Nigeria) and Abidjan (Ivory Coast), a distance of only 992km; 34 checkpoints between Lome (Togo) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), a 989km route; 20 between Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Abidjan (Ivory Coast), a distance of 529km.

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