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Justin Farr-Jones

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World Bank Approves a Social Safety Net Project for Madagascar

The World Bank gets involved in another positive initiative as their Board of Executive Directors approve a $40 million credit for an increased social safety net system in Madagascar.

Madagascar Jfarrjones

“This operation will support the government in increasing the access of extremely poor households to safety net services and in laying the foundations for a social protection system,”explains Andrea Vermehren, the Lead Social Protection Specialist at the World Bank.

The World Bank plans to target more than 162,500 residents with this project. The social safety net project will create a systematic and programmatic foundation for social protection, channelling in on investing capital and productive assets of the communities in poverty in Madagascar.

The Social Safety Net Project will last for three years and among five regions based on several different aspects: poverty level, malnutrition rates, school attendance %, food security, and complementary programs for the particular community.

Madagascar has become a home for third-world poverty but they’ve also suffered from continued exposure to natural disasters on top of the societal issues that have developed. The Social Safety Net Project is designed to help the urbanization process in Madagascar through establishing a social program for all.

This trust fund is the early partnership between the World Bank Group and SECO to support South Africa’s development priorities.

The “drinkable book” Brings a Viable Solution to Clean Water Supply

Dr. Teri Dankovich, a postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, is leading on one of the more interesting and revolutionary projects in Africa, called the “drinkable book”.

Sub-Saharan Africans have to endure an array of prominent environmental issues, one of which is finding drinkable water and Dankovich is heading a research campaign that may solve just that issue.

 

Drinkable Book

The pages of the “drinkable book” contain nanoparticles of silver or copper which kills bacteria in the water being filtered through.

The drinkable book provides information about water safety but its content doesn’t scratch the surface of the importance of its other uses. Dr. Dankovich’s team performed test trials on 25 contaminated water sites among Ghana, Kenya, Haiti, South Africa, and Bangladesh.

“The resulting levels of contamination are similar to US tap water, the researchers say. Tiny amounts of silver or copper also leached into the water, but these were well below safety limits,” – reports BBC.

Dr. Dankovich explains that one page can clean up to 100 litres of water, according to her tests. The use of an entire book could filter someone’s water supply for an estimated four years.

In total, 83 million people globally don’t have access to clean drinking water. From a macro perspective, the drinkable book could have a much greater impact than expected as the issue it solves expands outside of Africa.

Kenya Power Brings Electricity to the Slums

Kenya has poverty headcount ratio of 46% and on average, Kenyans are expected to live to the age of 62. With statistics like that, urbanization is a change that’s more than essential, it’s a necessity.

Recently, Kenya has just experienced an installment that’s sure the change their quality of life in the long run. In partnership with the World Bank, Kenya Power and Lighting Corporation and the national utility have instituted a 30-fold increase in electricity connections in just one year for Kenyan slums.

Malindi_town_view

Kenya is home to some of the largest urban poor areas; in the town of Nairobi alone, two million of the 3.4 million live in informal settlements.

The direction of top management at national utility changed Kenya Power’s focus to a community-based approach in the slum villages and as a result, mass change came.

Originally, Kenya Power’s first order of business was to take down illegal electricity connections. Illegal connections were the dependable electricity source for the slum population. Many informal settlements had to depend on poor-performing, unsafe electricity, usually bought from local cartels. From this practice, electric fires and electrocutions weren’t uncommon.

Until recently, Kenya Power and the World Bank focused on bringing down this illegal connection market but their new approach has other areas of interest. Now, the counterparts have been listening to community leaders and publicizing the safety and reliability benefits of legal electrical connections.

Just a year ago (May 2014), Kenya had only established 5,000 new legal connects. They’ve obliterated that statistic with over 150,000 connections as of May 2015.

Kenya Power is now seeing a demand within their communities for legal electricity. Hopefully their movement becomes more of a staple in slum households, not only in Kenya but throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

The International Energy Agency Analyzes Africa’s Future in Renewable Energy

Geothermal energy is currently the second-largest power supply source in East Africa but the primary renewable energy landscape is close to change according to the IEA’s recent analysis.

Solar Panels of Africa

Africa undoubtedly has the potential to maximize solar energy as a sustainable source. Although the IEA report sets a much higher bar for solar energy potential than investors may be aware of. The report says that the East African region is in a state where solar, among other renewable sources, can provide for up to about 620 million people who still don’t have electricity.

Renewable energy is expected to make up half of sub-Saharan Africa’s power growth over the next 25 years. But the focus should be around which clean and sustainable renewable energy source is the primary because one is destined to take precedence. The International Energy Agency believes solar energy will lead the growth in renewables as it estimates that there’s a huge deficiency in what’s being utilized.

In 2014, Africa was predicted to use about 1.8 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity which exceeds the amount Africa has provided in the last 14 years combined. The demand for renewable energy has always been high but the continent seems to have made that an objective relatively recently. Solar and wind power are a couple of the most sustainable, clean energy sources available in the area and countries in East Africa have the land to raise the quota for solar panels or wind power turbines. Hopefully, the IEA’s first major analysis will spread light upon which renewable energy source should be focused on from an urbanization and investor standpoint because helping grow the abundance of this source could have a direct affect on over 600 million lives.