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Mozambique’s gas wealth | South Africa’s electricity shortages

Africa Edition – Today's top story: Offshore gas finds offered major promise for Mozambique: what went wrong View in browser


Africa Edition | 31 March 2021


The insurgency that was started in late 2017 in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province by a group known as Al-Shabaab has grown in scale, frequency and brutality. In the most brazen and deadliest attack to date, the insurgents last week attacked shops, banks and a military barracks, killing dozens of people in the town of Palma. Theo Neethling offers insights into the dynamics of the area. These include a commitment by multinationals to invest billions to exploit rich reserves of liquefied natural gas off the coast. And a local community that feels aggrieved at the way they’ve been treated since the multinationals moved in, compounding decades of neglect by the central government in Maputo.

South Africans are once more experiencing periodic power cuts. Scheduled supply interruptions lasting two to four hours at a time are blamed on the increased down-time of the country’s rapidly ageing fleet of coal plants. But they are also due to delays in setting up new ones. Hartmut Winkler explains why a new plan of action offered by President Cyril Ramaphosa to develop additional power generation capacity in the short to medium term is unlikely to make a big dent. Though critical, the plans don’t go far enough to reach power stability.

Thabo Leshilo

Politics + Society

People displaced by the atacks on the town of Palma, northern Mozambique, flee to safety with meagre possessions. Alfredo Zuniga / AFP via Getty Images

Offshore gas finds offered major promise for Mozambique: what went wrong

Theo Neethling, University of the Free State

The conflict has put a temporary lid on plans that have been in the making for more than a decade since rich liquefied natural gas reserves were discovered in the Rovuma Basin.

For now, only those who can afford it will be able to escape the power cuts. Shutterstock/ Arnold Petersen

Why South Africa’s electricity blackouts are set to continue for the next five years

Hartmut Winkler, University of Johannesburg

Renewable energy sources won't make a decisive impact to alleviate South Africa's power shortage for at least five years.


Didier Ratsiraka: the legacy of Madagascar’s “Red Admiral”

Adrien Ratsimbaharison, Benedict College

Ratsiraka was a national hero and great patriot for some, for others a ruthless dictator.

Book sheds light on apartheid South Africa’s hidden massacre

Mignonne Breier, University of Cape Town

When the Truth and Reconciliation was mandated to investigate human rights violations from March 1960, that left twelve years of apartheid rule unexplored.

Health + Medicine

Turning findings into policy: six tips for researchers

Anthony Idowu Ajayi, African Population and Health Research Center; Boniface Ushie, African Population and Health Research Center; Caroline Kabiru, African Population and Health Research Center

The changes that society needs, such as preventing adolescent pregnancies, will not happen until researchers can use their findings to influence policy change.

‘Frugal design’ brings medical innovations to communities that lack resources during the pandemic

Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Rice University; Theresa Mkandawire, University of Malawi

Engineering students in Malawi and Tanzania have used the materials and tools available to them to build ventilators, personal protective equipment and UV disinfection systems.

From our international editions

Ebola might be a chronic infection – but here’s why we shouldn’t panic

Connor Bamford, Queen's University Belfast

Ebola seems to be able to lay dormant in people for many years before causing disease again.

Selfie culture: what your choice of camera angle says about you

Alessandro Soranzo, Sheffield Hallam University

Selfie takers often choose to shoot the left side of their face, from above. But why exactly is that thought to make you look better?

We’ve discovered a new rule of nature. It explains why animals’ pointy parts grow the way they do

Alistair Evans, Monash University

Teeth, horns, claws, beaks, shells and even plant prickles — the power cascade rule can be observed far and wide throughout nature, much like the famous golden ratio.

Godzilla vs. Kong: A functional morphologist uses science to pick a winner

Kiersten Formoso, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Hollywood loves a good monster battle, and where better to turn for inspiration than the animal kingdom? Traits from real animals can provide clues about the fighting prowess of Kong and Godzilla.

En Français

Covid-19 : que nous apprennent les mesures prises par les autres pays ?

Thomas Hale, University of Oxford

Pendant un an, 600 personnes ont suivi l’évolution de 20 types de restrictions mises en place pour lutter contre le SARS-CoV-2 dans 186 pays. Voici ce que ces données ont permis de découvrir.

Urbanisation : pourquoi la connaissance de l’état des sols est essentielle

Jean-François Brunet, BRGM

La qualité chimique des sols est souvent mal connue, tout particulièrement dans les zones urbaines.


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