Africa Edition – Today's top story: Cape Town's climate strategy isn't perfect, but every African city should have one View in browser


Africa Edition | 11 November 2020


Many African cities are set to be hit hard by climate change. To help prepare for worst case scenarios, cities are putting in place strategies that outline actions to mitigate – and adapt to – changes in weather patterns. Cape Town, which has already felt the impact of a prolonged drought, is the latest city to redraft its strategy document. Alanna Rebelo, Karen Joan Esler, Michael Samways, Patricia Holmes and Tony Rebelo set out the strengths, as well as the weaknesses, of the plan, pointing out that many cities across the continent need to apply themselves to the looming challenges.

The situation in Ethiopia continues to escalate. Government forces are still locked in battle with troops loyal to the Tigrayan government while Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to remove the region’s leadership. There are reports that hundreds of soldiers have been killed and that many people have fled to Sudan. In earlier published articles Francesca Baldwin and Heike I Schmidt weigh up the chances of all-out civil war while Yohannes Gedamu explains the serious challenges Ahmed’s government has faced from the start. The major one is ethnic tensions, for which the government has not yet designed a strategy.

Ozayr Patel

Digital Editor

Fynbos, the biodiverse shrubland in Cape Town, is thought to have the third highest carbon stored per square metre for any biome in South Africa. It must be protected. Shutterstock

Cape Town’s climate strategy isn’t perfect, but every African city should have one

Alanna Rebelo, Stellenbosch University; Karen Joan Esler, Stellenbosch University; Michael Samways, Stellenbosch University; Patricia Holmes, Stellenbosch University; Tony Rebelo, South African National Biodiversity Institute

Cape Town's new climate strategy is a good start. But it falls short when it comes to nature.

A man enters a polling station for Tigray’s regional elections, which Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed deemed illegal. EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images

Ethiopia’s troubled history provides clues to why an all-out civil war is possible

Francesca Baldwin, University of Reading; Heike I Schmidt, University of Reading

Crisis grips Ethiopia as political divisions spill over into armed conflict and potential civil war looms.

Abiy put Ethiopia on the road to democracy: but major obstacles still stand in the way

Yohannes Gedamu, Georgia Gwinnett College

The country must urgently address the politics of ethnicity before it can move towards a workable democracy.

Violence in Ethiopia underscores unresolved ethnic tensions

Yohannes Gedamu, Georgia Gwinnett College

Ahmed Abiy has his work cut out to unify a nation divided along tribal lines

Health + Medicine

Unpacking the legal and ethical aspects of South Africa’s COVID-19 track and trace app

Dr Marietjie Botes, University of Pretoria

Digital contact tracing apps can successfully contribute to the management of viral outbreaks. These apps can even be designed to protect privacy rights and to work across borders.

COVID-19 might have reversed the war against a serious parasitic disease

Raphael Taiwo Aruleba, University of Cape Town; Bernard Ong'ondo Osero, University of Cape Town; Dr. Ramona Hurdayal, University of Cape Town

Among the health conditions that might have faced a setback is leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease associated with poverty. It can cause devastating lifestyle changes, disability, and even death.

Scabies: the neglected tropical disease no one wants to talk about

Michael Head, University of Southampton

Every year, around 455 million get scabies. Not that you'd know, because no one talks about it.

Traditional healing in South Africa needs spaces designed for the purpose

John Molebatsi, University of Pretoria; Christina Breed, University of Pretoria; Gary Ivan Stafford, University of Pretoria

Most healers still practice in their houses where there is little privacy. Others use more private backrooms. But these spaces were not designed for the practice of traditional medicine.

From our international editions

90% efficacy for Pfizer’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is striking. But we need to wait for the full data

Harry Al-Wassiti, Monash University; Colin Pouton, Monash University; Kylie Quinn, RMIT University

Early analysis suggests this vaccine has an efficacy of over 90%. So if you took ten people who were going to get sick from COVID-19 and vaccinated them, only one would get sick.

Why trust is vital to public health strategy

Simon Nicholas Williams, Swansea University

Success in tackling the coronavirus pandemic may rely on how well authorities maintain public trust.

Why can’t some people admit defeat when they lose?

Evita March, Federation University Australia

Grandiose narcissists do not, or even cannot, recognise and acknowledge a failure could be their own.

Russia’s rigged elections look nothing like the US election – they have immediate, unquestioned results there

Regina Smyth, Indiana University; Sarah Oates, University of Maryland

Charges by President Donald Trump and his allies that the 2020 election was rigged are challenged by experts in Russian elections, where rigging the outcome is an established way of life.

En Français

Les ONG musulmanes au cœur des débats sur le séparatisme

Lucas Faure, Aix-Marseille Université (AMU)

Les ONG musulmanes françaises se trouvent soumises à une double injonction paradoxale comme de nombreux Français musulmans, soupçonnés soit de « communautarisme » soit de prosélytisme.

L’impossible décolonisation des sciences sociales françaises ?

Stéphane Dufoix, Université Paris Nanterre – Université Paris Lumières

« Emprise hégémonique, projet anti-Occident et pensée étrangère » : retour sur les principaux griefs adressées aux courants universitaires qui cherchent à décentrer leur regard.


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