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The Next Einstein Forum's Global Gathering opens with call to accelerate science-driven development In Africa
8 March 2016 - An unprecedented coalition of African and world leaders have convened at the first-ever Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering, issuing a joint call to action for increased investment and support for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in Africa. The event marks a historic first step in charting a new course for science-led development in Africa. Held every two years, NEF Global Gatherings showcase Africa's top young scientists and connect them with leaders from Africa and the rest of the world in high-profile, invitation-only forums that touch on the three pillars of science, society, and policy. (more)

Senegal: Dakar women grow herb business from floodwater
6 March 2015 - Though the coastal cities of Senegal are situated on the fierce Atlantic Ocean, it is floods from heavy rains they struggle with, rather than rising tides. A common solution is to pump floodwaters into the ocean. But one innovative project is trying to capture the water instead, for use in gardening during water-short periods of the year. In Pikine, a suburb of Senegal's capital Dakar, the 'Live with Water' project captures floodwater in large sandy basins, around which cash crop gardens of mint and basil provide an income for local residents. (more)

Senegal: Saint-Louis festival takes jazz back to African roots
12 June 2014 - Once a lively French colonial trading port, the sleepy city of Saint-Louis in West Africa's Senegal bursts into life for just a few days a year during the annual summer jazz festival. From dusk, jazz from the open-air concert blends with African rhythms, and drifts off the shores of the tiny island where the festival is held down the normally tranquil banks of the Senegal River. (more)

Senegal law bans smoking in public
16 March 2014 - Senegal's health minister says lawmakers have banned tobacco advertising and smoking in public places. Awa Marie Coll Seck said parliament passed the law unanimously on Friday. It imposes fines of up to $100 for smoking in public and more than $400,000 for violating the advertising ban, which also applies to sponsoring cultural and sporting events. (more)

Senegal tenants celebrate mandated rent cuts
13 February 2014 - A new law mandating across-the-board rent reductions in Senegal is a double blessing for real estate agent Abdul Aziz Sylla. Along with paying 14 per cent less each month for his family's three-bedroom Dakar apartment, the 36-year-old has been busy brokering deals on behalf of clients flush with newfound purchasing power -- and cashing in on a flurry of commissions. Two years after successfully running on a campaign to lower living costs, President Macky Sall has received wide praise for the law from residents frustrated with the city's pricey housing stock. (more)

Prepaid solar solution to boost Senegal agriculture
2 January 2014 - USAID has announced that the Sustainable Engineering Lab has been awarded a two-year, $1.1 million innovation grant to establish three smart solar irrigation pilot projects in the Millennium Village of Potou, a rural area in northern Senegal. The Sustainable Engineering Lab's goal is to reduce the price of energy for smallholder irrigation farmers by introducing solar PV as a reliable and cost-effective energy alternative. (more)

Senegal: Casamance recovers more land lost to landmines
27 December 2012 - People in at least 44 villages in Casamance, southern Senegal, can once again cultivate their fields and rice paddies thanks to Italian government-funded demining efforts. The demined land was handed over on 20 December by officials of the National Centre for Mine Action in Senegal. Pape Oumar Ndiaye, secretary-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said it was a milestone in demining in Casamance, which began in February 2008, and 'a substantial contribution to the resolution of the landmine problem'. (more)

Dakar mosque lit up for Christmas in Senegal
24 December 2012 - It looks a lot like Christmas in Senegal, where 95 per cent of the 12.8 million residents are Muslim. Even the Grande Mosquee, a mosque that dominates the city's skyline, is aglow in holiday lights. 'We are born into the Senegalese tradition of cohabitation between Muslims and Christians. What is essential is the respect between people,' said Ibrahim Lo, a Muslim. Senegal, a moderate country along Africa's western coast, has long been a place where Christians and Muslims have coexisted peacefully. (more)

Senegal's Casamance rebels release army prisoners
9 December 2012 - Roman Catholic peacemakers say that several Senegalese soldiers were freed by rebels in the southern Casamance district. The Sant'Egidio Community confirmed, in a statement issued in Rome, that the soldiers were released by the rebels to promote peace negotiations. They did not say how many soldiers were let go. (more)

Senegal: Making cashews pay
13 July 2012 - As the cashew harvesting season draws to a close, producers in the Casamance region of southern Senegal are starting to organize themselves so as to have more say in the price that will be set for their product. Cashews are an economic mainstay in Casamance, bringing in 35 billion CFA francs (US$65 million) annually, second only to tourism, according to the government. Across West Africa, cashew production is mounting -- the region produced 85 per cent of the global harvest in 2011, according to USAID -- with exports going mainly to India and Brazil. With help from the French Development Agency (AFD), the Chamber of Commerce in Ziguinchor has created a platform to enable cashew producers to become better organized, and are trying to set up a fund to buy cashews for re-sale, Ehemba Pascal, President of the chamber, told IRIN. French funding will also be used to set up the region's first processing plant, following the example of Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria, Ehemba said. (more)


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Penury amid potential in Senegal's Casamance
2 May 2014 - Reduced harvests in 2013-2014 have driven up food insecurity in Senegal's southern Casamance Region, where a protracted insurgency and underinvestment have stifled agricultural output. Casamance, Senegal's richest agricultural region, has the highest levels of hunger of the 10 regions in the country considered to be at risk in terms of food security. Thirty-seven percent of households in Casamance, home to some 1.8 million people or 14 per cent of Senegal's population of 13 million, are facing food shortages. Ten per cent of households are experiencing severe food insecurity, according to a recent food security assessment. 'Casamance was once Senegal's breadbasket, but the conflict, changing climate and economic degradation have brought this difficult situation,' said Mamadou Konte, regional rural development director for Casamance. 'If people have consistent revenue, development can overcome the conflict. We hope to be able to quickly develop agriculture and regain the previous levels of harvests.' All three Casamance districts (Kolda, Sedhiou, and Ziguinchor) are facing food shortages, aid groups say. Cereal production in Senegal dropped by 12 per cent last season compared to the 2012-2013 season, according to the food security assessment. (more)

Gunmen kidnap 12 mine clearance workers in southern Senegal
5 May 2013 - Gunmen suspected of belonging to a Senegalese separatist group abducted 12 employees of a South African mine clearance company in the West African nation's restive Casamance region, military and civilian officials said on Sunday. The workers, all Senegalese, were on their way to inspect a mine field that had been cleared of explosives when they were kidnapped on Friday by men believed to be members of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC). A civilian official in Ziguinchor said the team were employed by the South African de-mining firm Mechem. The 31-year-old separatist rebellion in Casamance is one of Africa's longest-running insurgencies. Though largely dormant, the conflict remains an unhealed blemish on Senegal's otherwise enviable reputation as the only country in mainland West Africa that has not suffered a coup or a civil war since independence. Various agencies have been working for several years to clear Casamance of landmines. (more)

Senegal police fire tear gas at polling station
25 March 2012 - Police fired tear gas at crowds gathering Sunday outside the polling station in Senegal's capital where President Abdoulaye Wade is expected to vote. Senegalese voters are deciding Sunday whether to give their 85-year-old president another term in office, or instead back his one-time protege in a runoff election that could oust the incumbent of 12 years. President Wade's decision to seek a third term has infuriated many of his countrymen. Wade fell short of the 50 per cent needed to avoid a runoff, receiving only 34.82 per cent. Violent protests leading up to the election have left at least six people dead, and analysts have warned of further unrest if Wade wins. (more)

Casamance conflict is unhealed sore for Senegal
25 February 2012 - When he took office in 2000, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade promised to end decades of separatist rebellion in his country's southern Casamance region. But as Sunday's election nears, an often dormant insurrection has ticked up, with rebels raiding isolated army outposts, killing, and capturing soldiers. Lines between independence struggle and criminality appear blurred amid smuggling, racketeering, and multiplying rebel factions. Yet the on-off low-intensity rebellion, now entering its fourth decade, has hardly registered in campaigning, even though it will prevent voting in 51 villages. The fighting has destroyed hundreds of villages and rendered thousands of hectares of arable land, suitable for producing rice, vegetables, and fruit unusable due to unexploded ammunition and landmines. Foreign travel warnings have hamstrung a potentially lucrative tourism industry in the region. (more)

Senegal police clash with rioters as vote looms
19 February 2012 - Senegal security forces fired teargas and rubber bullets at hundreds of rock-throwing protesters in the capital on Sunday in the fifth straight day of demonstrations against President Abdoulaye Wade's candidacy in a 26 February election. The clashes come amid mounting pressure on Wade from opposition rivals and international partners to withdraw his bid for a third term in office. Opposition leaders and civil society group M-23 have vowed to make the country ungovernable if Wade does not step down, arguing the octogenarian's candidacy violates constitutional term limits. (more)

Senegal's Koranic 'scholars' face beatings - report
15 April 2010 - Schoolchildren enrolled the nation's traditional Koranic schools, or daaras, are being forced by teachers to panhandle on pain of severe beatings, according to an investigation by global advocacy group Human Rights Watch released on Thursday. The findings are troublesome in a mainly Muslim nation of 12 million where Koranic schools have existed for centuries, placing Senegal on a list of countries with severe forced child begging such as Pakistan, India, and Albania. The majority of Senegal's urban daaras have embraced forced begging, Wells said, with some of the religious leaders -- known as marabouts -- making as much as $100,000 per year on the proceeds while cutting back hours in the classroom. 'This has created a legacy of street children in Senegal,' said an expert. 'Because of the severe abuse they suffer at the hands of the marabout, they run away in huge numbers.' (more)

Senegal: Rising food prices cause hundreds to protest
27 April 2008 - More than 1,000 people, some carrying empty rice sacks, marched through Senegal's capital Dakar on Saturday to protest against rising food prices, the latest such demonstration in impoverished West Africa. Aid experts say soaring global prices for foodstuffs and fuel threaten to push 100 million people worldwide into hunger, and governments in the poorest countries are scrambling to find ways to mitigate the effects. (more)

Senegal: Toxic vegetables for sale
3 March 2008 - In a country whose climate fosters the growth of insects, farmers grow vegetables so heavily laced with pesticides that they are highly hazardous to both growers and consumers. Amadou Diouf, an agricultural engineer, told IRIN the problem is rife across the country. (more)

Senegal: Lack of basics blocks return of war-weary displaced
24 January 2008 - Despite a lingering landmine threat, families who years ago fled fighting in Senegal's southern Casamance region are slowly trying to return to their home villages. But a lack of water -- for drinking and for building homes -- is keeping many away. With some villages abandoned for 15 years, wells have collapsed or are full of debris. Entire communities have been swallowed up in dense bush, and homes and other buildings, which are mostly made of mud-brick, have been wiped out. (more)

Senegal, Morocco withdraw envoys in diplomatic spat
22 December 2007 - Senegal and Morocco have recalled their ambassadors for consultations in a diplomatic dispute over a Senegalese former foreign minister's comments backing an independent Western Saharan state, officials said on Saturday. Senegal instructed its ambassador to return for talks late on Friday after Morocco withdrew its own envoy this week for three days in protest at comments made by ex-minister Jacques Baudin, a member of the opposition Senegalese Socialist Party. (more)

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