- After a poor rainy reason, are Sahelian nations (including Burkina) heading towards a famine? “…[T]he ‘lean season’, when food availability is at its lowest, is likely to start two to four months earlier than normal.” A serious problem for sure, especially here in the East. So far, I haven’t been personally affected, but I’ve witnessed a poor corn harvest, a few restaurants increasing prices, and a new ban on cocktail receptions at government events (normally a staple post-ministry event activity).
- Bloomberg’s controversial ‘Victoria Secret’ article regarding child labor and free trade in Burkina Faso. See Victoria Secret’s investigation and Fairtrade International’s response to the allegations.
- Burkina Faso customs chief fired over $4m cash find. On that note, check out this map of the world corruption index.
- Rumors about our local currency, the Franc CFA, potentially being devalued by France.
- Music is ubiquitously played and traded through cell phones here in West Africa. American Christopher Kirkley collected a few of those tracks and is offering them for sale through his Sahel Sounds website (the artists get a 60% cut). Check out the album here, and read a Q&A with Christopher here.
- The Economist: Africa’s fertility rates are slow to shift. Be sure to check out the fascinating population distribution graph comparison of Japan, Mexico and Nigeria.
- I recently found the great blog of Evan Lieberman, a Princeton professor of politics. Check out a few of his posts that caught my attention lately: 1) Nighttime satellite images for tracking epidemics, 2) Africa rising but not necessarily in democracies, 3) Good news on AIDS in Africa, 4) I paid a bribe: Kenyan website.
- Looking for rigorously examined and high impact charities to donate to? Check out GiveWell.org’s top-rated charities (both are in sub-Saharan Africa).
- Remember the Africa Cup of Nations controversy over the eligibility of Burkinabé national team player (born in Cameroon) Herve Zengue? Well, the Etalons will be able to participate in the tournament after all as Namibia’s last appeal attempt was rejected (though the team has left Zengue as well as another player off the squad). In his place, 16 year old Bertrand Traore of Chelsea will play (the third youngest to ever play in the tournament).
- Donate to help my fellow PCVs in the East to put on a youth camp promoting healthy lifestyles and gender equality. Also, fellow PCVs Chad and Tana are raising funds to build a theater. Help them out by donating here.