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Renewable Energy: The Untold Story of an African Revolution

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Renewable Energy: The Untold Story of an African Revolution.

“There is a revolution going on in the continent of Africa and the world is not noticing it. You can go to Egypt, Ethiopia Kenya, Namibia, and Mozambique. I think we will see renewable energy being the answer to Africa’s energy problems in the next fifteen years,” Steiner said in an interview with IPS.

Sharing the example of the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, Steiner told IPS that the decision was taken that “if UNEP is going to be centred with its offices in the African continent on the Equator, there can be reason why we are not using renewable energy. So we installed photovoltaic panels on our roof which we share with UN Habitat, 1200 people, and we produce 750,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, that is enough for the entire building to operate.”

He noted that although it will take UNEP between eight and 10 years to pay off the installation, UNEP will have over 13 years of electricity without paying monthly or annual power bills. “It is the best business proposition that a U.N. body has ever made in terms of paying for electricity for a building,” he said.

According to Steiner, the “revolution” is already happening in East Africa, especially in Kenya and Ethiopia which are both targeting renewable energy, especially geothermal energy.

“Kenya plans to triple its electricity generation up to about 6000 megawatts in the next five years. More than 90 percent of the planned power is to come from geothermal, solar and wind power,” he said…

One in four young people in developing countries unable to read, says UN | Global development | theguardian.com

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One in four young people in developing countries unable to read, says UN | Global development | theguardian.com.

One in four young people in developing countries are unable to read a sentence, according to a report, which warns that poor quality education has left a “legacy of illiteracy” more widespread than previously believed.

Research published on Wednesday by Unesco, the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural body, suggests that 175 million young people lack even basic literacy skills.

“Access [to education] is not the only crisis – poor quality is holding back learning even for those who make it to school,” said Unesco director-general, Irina Bokova, in a foreword to the 11th annual Education for All global monitoring report, which measures progress towards global goals.

Senegal Elections: A First Take By John Cambell

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http://blogs.cfr.org/campbell/2012/02/28/senegal-elections-a-first-take/

The experience of Ivory Coast should temper unbounded optimism about the elections, however. The Ivorian 2010 polling — the first in a decade — went well. There was a subsequent runoff between the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara. But, the runoff was marred by irregularities with both candidates declaring victory, setting up parallel administrations, and there was a low level civil war resolved in the end by the UN and the French. The country now appears superficially calm, but divisions persist.

I am hopeful, even optimistic, that there will be no replay of the Ivory Coast scenario in Senegal. The former was characterized by “big man” rule under Houphouet Boigny that in effect stunted the development of a democratic culture. There was a recent history of civil war and the continued existence of parallel armed forces. There are ethnic and religious divisions often bundled together under the rubrics of “settlers” versus indigenes. Valuable commodities — cocoa, oil — distort politics.

Thabo Mbeki on Sovereignty and Democracy in Africa

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http://blogs.cfr.org/campbell/2012/02/23/thabo-mbeki-on-sovereignty-and-democracy-in-africa/

Mbeki focuses on Libya while acknowledging that intervention in Ivory Coast also carries many of the same lessons. He recalls the adoption by the African Union Peace and Security Council of a roadmap for the resolution of the Libyan conflict, which secured Qaddafi’s agreement. The AU then forwarded its decision to the UN and the Arab league.

However, the UN Security Council ignored the African Union and took as the justification for its actions the positions taken by the Arab League. It adopted Resolution 1973, which provided the justification for NATO “to intervene in Libya to impose a violent resolution to this conflict, centered on regime change—which was not the intention of Resolution 1973.”

Mbeki charges President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron, President Sarkozy, and the UN with imposing their own solution on an African state. (He denies that Qaddafi was intent on making war on his own people.) It particularly sticks in his craw that the UN gave greater weight to the Arab League than to the African Union; in effect, he accuses the UN of detaching Libya from Africa.

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