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The border closure has affected goods from other West African countries. Wikimedia Commons

ANALYSIS: Nigeria’s Border Closure: Implications for Africa’s economic integration

Nigeria recently partially closed its border with Benin in an effort to stem the smuggling of rice. It then went on to close its land borders to the movement of all goods from Benin, Niger and Cameroon, effectively banning trade flows with its neighbours. Border closures are not new in…

William G. Kaelin, Jr. talks to a reporter after being awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. AP Photo - Josh Reynolds

Why ‘Discovery of How Cells Sense Oxygen Levels’ earned 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine

On the morning of Oct. 7, I woke up with the message from a colleague saying that “HIF got the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine whoo hooo.” That’s exciting news for young researchers like me who are beginning our careers studying hypoxia, when the levels of oxygen are…

Danfo buses in Lagos

How traditional beliefs and systems are used to fight crime in parts of Lagos

As the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, Lagos naturally draws lots of people to it – good and bad. With an estimated population of 21 million, fighting crime in Nigeria’s former capital territory is a tough job. Violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping, rape and gang-related crimes are common…

On Akure’s edges, which used to be mainly farmland, buildings are taking over.

Nigeria’s Akure is a good example of how not to build a city

Akure is one of Nigeria’s emerging cities. Located within Ondo State in the country’s south west, it’s a settlement about 350kms from Lagos where roads meet from major towns such as Ilesa, Ondo, Owo and Ado-Ekiti. Its population is climbing fast. In 2006 it was home to about 484,798 people.…

Lagos was affected positively and negatively by Nigeria’s emergence as a crude oil producer in the 1970s. Shutterstock

Lagos’s chequered history: how it came to be the megacity it is today

Ndubisi Onwuanyi, University of Benin Lagos was an orderly urban environment 70 years ago. This was the case from the 1950s, when the city was a federal territory through to the 1960s when it became federal capital – a status it held until 1991. The foundations of orderliness for any…

Digital technologies are transforming African businesses, but obstacles remain

Digital technology has created new opportunities for businesses in sub-Saharan Africa to compete on a more equal footing. However, these businesses have yet to enjoy the full benefits because of a difficult operating environment. Our recently published book, ‘Digital Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects’, details case studies…

Oil and gas is the lifeblood of Nigeria’s economy. Wikimedia Commons

EXPLAINER: How Nigeria got hit with a $9.6 billion judgment debt in London

Nigeria has received a legal hiding after a UK court awarded a private company a US$9.6 billion judgment debt against the West African nation. The ruling has generated significant attention in both domestic and international media. This is understandable given that the sum amounts to 20% of the country’s foreign…

Flooded houses in Buzi, Mozambique after tropical cyclone Idai struck. [Photo: The Cpnversation - INGC (Mozambique) & FATHUM]

Why forecasting floods should be a global collaborative effort

The number of people exposed to the risk of floods is rising. More and expanding human settlements are being built in flood-prone areas, especially in Africa, Asia and South America. This is undoubtedly linked to the dramatic increase in death tolls and economic damages from floods experienced in Africa over…

Tunisians head for the polls amid dimming faith in democracy

Tunisians, and the wider world, expected a great deal after the dawn of democracy in 2011. This followed the popular uprisings that ended President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s dictatorial rule. But even two years after those momentous events, many were beginning to doubt both the new government and the…

Millions of people have been displaced from countries like Mali. Can a free trade zone create more security? [Photo: The Conversation - NICOLAS REMENE/EPA-EFE]

The African free trade zone can’t ignore continent’s security issues

The new African free trade zone came into effect at the end of May 2019. All of the African Union’s (AU) member states are now legally bound to allow African goods to be traded without restraint throughout the continent. But there are some security concerns to be considered. Entering the…

Robert Mugabe during his swearing-in ceremony in Harare, 2008. The former Zimbabwean president has died aged 95. [Photo: The Conversation - EPA-EFE]

Robert Mugabe: as divisive in death as he was in life

Robert Mugabe, the former president of Zimbabwe, has died. Mugabe was 95, and had been struggling with ill health for some time. The country’s current President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced Mugabe’s death on Twitter on 6 September: The responses to Mnangagwa’s announcement were immediate and widely varied. Some hailed Mugabe as…

A newborn used to illustrate the story. [Photo Credit: Shutterstock]

A village in Poland hasn’t seen a boy born in nearly 10 years – here’s how that computes

The tiny Polish village of Miejsce Odrzanskie has become the unlikely source of international media attention over the past fortnight as a result of what the New York Times called “a strange population anomaly”. It has now been almost a decade since the last boy was born in this place,…

It’s not that people in poorer countries want to eat unhealthily - but cost is a huge factor. [Photo: The Conversation - Aleksandar Todorovic]

Why living in poor country means you have bad food choices

Poor diets are the number one risk factor in the global burden of disease: they account for one in five deaths globally. In higher income countries sugar, fat and red meat increase the risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. These usually kill people later in life. Meanwhile people in…

Lock the doors? PA

MPs threaten to barricade themselves in if Boris Johnson prorogues parliament

Queen Elizabeth II has consented to a request to prorogue parliament. It is clear that her chief minister, Boris Johnson, intends to compromise the protective bastion of British democracy. For several centuries the residual powers still held by the monarchy have been used sparingly. For a long time, the British…

Boris Johnson suspends parliament what does it mean for Brexit and why are MPs so angry - EPA/Mick Tsikas

Boris Johnson suspends parliament: What does it mean for Brexit?

Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, is to suspend parliament for several weeks in the run up to Brexit day on October 31. Johnson argues that suspending (or proroguing) parliament is necessary to prepare for a new parliamentary session. But many MPs, and those beyond Westminster, are viewing the PM’s…

Ghana player Asamoah Gyan celebrates a goal against Portugal during a 2014 FIFA World Cup match in Brazil. EPA/Jose Sena Goulao

How African footballers who play in Europe spend their money

African footballers – like other players from developing countries – invariably earn sums of money far greater than their contemporaries back home. On average, some African players in the elite leagues can earn between €15,000 and €100,000 or more as salaries. Those in leagues one, two and three can also…

Voodoo believers walk during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery

What is Haitian Voodoo?

For many in the West, Voodoo invokes images of animal sacrifices, magical dolls and chanted spells. But Voodoo – as practiced in Haiti and by the black diaspora in the United States, South America and Africa – is a religion based on ancestral spirits and patron saints. Known as “Vodou”…

Senegal’s Sadio Mane during the 2019 AFCON final soccer match between Algeria and Senegal in Cairo. He also plays for Liverpool. [Photo: EPA-EFE/Khaled Elfiqi]

Want to put together a winning AFCON team? Here’s the formula

The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament is the most important sporting event on the continent. It attracts media attention, sponsors and draws significant global viewership. Organised every two years, it is also considered one of the most difficult to win based on a large qualification pool. Since it was…

The government of President Idriss Deby in Chad blocked citizens’ internet access for 16 months. [Photo: EPA-EFE/ABIR SULTAN]

ANALYSIS: How social media is changing politics across Africa

In mid-July Chad lifted its 16-month social media ban. This ended the longest social media blockage seen in any African country. The government argued that the lengthy ban was necessary for security reasons. The Chadian case highlights the way social media has increasingly been framed as a threat, especially by…

A military procession accompanies the coffin of the lateTunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi during his funeral in Tunis. [Photo: Amel Pain/EPA-EFE]

Essebsi is Gone: Tunisia’s young democracy faces its toughest test

Tunisia has been popularly hailed as the only successful political transition to emerge from the wider Arab Spring movement. The culmination of this transition was the election of Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi in 2014. Essebsi’s victory would make history. He became the first president to be elected in a free…

The higher the risk, the less likely that young, educated Ghanaians will get involved in corruption. [The Conversation - i_am_zews/Shutterstock ]

How young educated Ghanaians view corruption

A corruption scandal is in the news in Ghana again. Media reports suggest an elaborate scheme of cronyism in the procurement of private sector involvement in the country’s energy industry. This is only the latest of many allegations of serious corruption in the country. Annual reports by the Auditor General…

Doctors preparing to perform an operation. Shutterstock (Photo Source: The Conversation)

Why Nigeria’s doctors are leaving, and how the problem can be fixed

Brain drain is a major challenge facing the Nigerian health system, leading to a dramatic reduction in the number of doctors in the country. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Nigeria is one of the three leading African sources of foreign-born physicians. Doctors leave for a variety of reasons depending…

MKO Abiola

ANALYSIS: Democracy Day: Why June 12 matters in Nigeria

Democracy Day in Nigeria is being celebrated on the 12th of June this year. This is the first time the day has been marked on this date. And the change carries heavy symbolism for a country that’s known more years of being ruled by military men than by democratically elected…

Liverpool player, Mohammed Salah. [PHOTO CREDIT: The Conversation]

What to expect from biggest ever Africa Cup of Nations tournament

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, popularly known as Afcon, is the biennial championship in which Africa’s top men’s teams compete for the gold-plated African Nation Cup trophy. The winner will hoist that trophy after the final on Friday 19 July at the Cairo International Stadium. This tournament, organised by…

Caster Semenya of South Africa from Team Africa in action during Mixed 4x400m Relay at the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic, 09 September 2018. EPA-EFE/MARTIN DIVISEK

Caster Semenya: how much testosterone is too much for a female athlete?

The South African athlete, Caster Semenya, has lost her case against the athletic governing body, IAAF, which means that she will have to take medication to lower her testosterone levels if she wishes to continue competing internationally in running events. Last year, the IAAF introduced new regulation for female athletes…