Tag Archives: Africa

Rethinking how we look at Africa’s relationship with China

The framing of Africa’s relationship with China needs a rethink. Shutterstock Christopher J. Lee, Lafayette College The topic of China-Africa relations presents an opportunity to rethink the territorial parameters of African studies. In particular, it can help shift attention away from the Atlantic world as the dominant focal point of connections between Africa and the wider world. The problem is …

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How palm oil became the world’s most hated, most used fat source

Oil palm fruit in North Aceh, Indonesia. Fachrul Reza / Barcroft Media via Getty Images Jonathan E. Robins, Michigan Technological University Palm oil is everywhere today: in food, soap, lipstick, even newspaper ink. It’s been called the world’s most hated crop because of its association with deforestation in Southeast Asia. But despite boycott campaigns, the world uses more palm oil …

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How African Union members came to share power despite themselves

The establishment of the African Union shows how social context is important in international organisations. Getty Images John J. Hogan, University of Groningen The African Union (AU) held its first summit in 2002, establishing itself as a new international organisation. It also launched a new vision for African security cooperation. Nearly two decades later, it is worth reflecting on the …

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Sudan’s ‘forgotten’ pyramids risk being buried by shifting sand dunes

Martchan / shutterstock Ahmed Mutasim Abdalla Mahmoud, University of Nottingham The word “pyramid” is synonymous with Egypt, but it is actually neighbouring Sudan that is home to the world’s largest collection of these spectacular ancient structures. Beginning around 2500BC, Sudan’s ancient Nubian civilisation left behind more than 200 pyramids that rise out of the desert across three archaeological sites: El …

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Inside Mali’s coup within a coup

Boubacar Haidara, Université Bordeaux Montaigne On the afternoon of May 24, the Malian transitional president, Bah Ndaw, and his prime minister, Moctar Ouane, were arrested by members of the armed forces and taken to the Soundiata Keïta military facility in Kati, a camp that has been at the heart of every coup that has taken place in the country. Two days …

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How we discovered the oldest human burial in Africa – and what it tells us about our ancestors

Virtual ideal reconstruction of Mtoto’s position in the burial pit. Jorge González/Elena Santos Simon Armitage, Royal Holloway How did human uniqueness first evolve among our ancestors, setting us apart from other animals? That is a question many archaeologists are grappling with by investigating early records of art, language, food preparation, ornaments and symbols. How our ancestors treated and mourned the …

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South African case study sheds light on how vaccine manufacturing can be developed

Workers pack syringes at India’s biggest syringe manufacturer. Government support has been key to developing this capacity. Photo by Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images David Richard Walwyn, University of Pretoria and Padmashree Gehl Sampath, Harvard University The uneven availability of COVID-19 vaccines has become an increasingly urgent and vexatious issue. But managing the problem of what’s been labelled “vaccine nationalism” …

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Ten years after the Arab Spring, Libya has another chance for peace

Under tight security, Libyans mark the 10th anniversary of their 2011 uprising that led to the overthrow and killing of longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi in Martyrs Square, Tripoli, Libya. (AP Photo/Hazem Ahmed) Brian McQuinn, University of Regina Ten years ago, the United Nation’s no-fly zone over Libya marked the beginning of the Libyan revolution and the West’s bombing campaign. I …

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Why it pays to link products to places – and how African countries can do it

Ijebu Garri refers to processed cassava from the Ijebu region of western Nigeria. Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Samuel Samiai Andrews, University of Gondar Around the world, people commonly associate certain foods and products with particular geographical areas. These products are known for characteristics like aroma, flavour, and the traditional knowledge systems used to make them. Legal and agricultural scholars speak of …

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