With 200 million hectares, sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly half the world’s uncultivated land, land that could be used for resilient agricultural practices. But locally, farmers are faced with many environmental challenges preventing them from cultivating these lands. In eastern and southern parts of the continent, farmers are experiencing changes in rainfall patterns as a result of climate change. Soil is becoming depleted and many farmers are unable to afford fertilizers to treat their crops.
Get to know the policies and the people working to protect our environments and developing sustainable solutions for the future.
Large trucks and buses roll through the only paved road connecting Dakar to Bamako, transporting passengers and merchandise to villages along the way. Every 50 kilometers or so, those trucks and buses stop – drawing women and children out from behind their red earth covered tables and roadside stands carrying bags of water in a bowl on their heads. In most of these towns, these bags of water are the only way to keep people safely hydrated since potable water is not common.
Africa is incredibly rich in natural resources. From gold to cocoa to petroleum, countries throughout the continent have benefited from high economic growth rates (pdf) over the last decade. But why then, do many governments fail to ensure all their citizens are able to attain even average living standards?
For many people in sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to electricity, it means more than not being able to charge a phone, go online, or watch TV. Access to affordable, reliable electricity can be the difference between a lifetime of extreme poverty and the opportunity to build a better quality of life.
At this year’s Powering Africa Summit, American-Senegalese rapper and social-entrepreneur, Akon took to the stage to talk about Akon lighting Africa and his goal of improving quality of life across the continent by providing electricity to millions of Africans using solar energy. The project launched in 2014 in partnership with Samba Battily and Thione Niang and is already providing electricity to more than a dozen countries in West Africa including, Senegal, Mali, and Niger.
Earlier this month, world leaders from 195 nations gathered in Paris for the COP21 summit where they agreed on a ‘landmark climate accord’. Now, nearly every country is committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and changing the way the world uses fossil fuels and have begun the long process of developing individual national climate action plans for achieving these goals.
The Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), a Nairobi-based collective of architects, urban planners and engineers, wants to turn one town’s dumping sites and derelict houses into a model ‘Flood Hub’ that showcases the group’s best practices for dealing with urban flooding and help bring a community together to benefit from its local development initiatives.
In the rural communities of Ghana’s Western region, bamboo trees are often looked at as just another plant growing in backyards. But at the Ankobra Beach Resort, bamboo trees offer much more. When made into charcoal, the bamboo provides a solution for developing sustainable agricultural practices, supporting successful farming and fishing businesses and combatting deforestation.
On a sunny day in downtown Dakar, children from the ages of 10-15 gathered at a workshop hosted by the Fablab creators from Ker Thiossane to learn how discarded electronics can be used to build a working computer. The children were asked to sit around a table covered in scattered, shiny bits of a recycled desktop computer as two instructors held up the pieces and asked, “who knows what this is?”