Culture & Society

  • Country: 
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    In Liberia, 42 000 candidates took the exam that is common for all of the region’s English-speaking countries for entrance into West African universities, but only one person managed to score at the level required to move on to university. This massive underperformance has revealed the flaws in the country’s education system, which is experiencing a shortage of teachers and suffers from a lack of basic educational facilities. Read on
  • Members: 
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    On 6 October in Abidjan, the representatives of national human rights institutions of UEMOA member countries decided organise themselves into a network. The move will create a framework for discussion and exchange on all issues linked to the promotion and protection of human rights within the UEMOA region. The network will look at themes such as: the respect for human rights, access to justice, education and issues related to migration and refugees. Read on
  • Country: 
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    This recent report from the International Crisis Group, which is part of a series on the theme of religion, state and society, explores Burkina Faso’s model of religious coexistence. It shows that religious tolerance in the country remains strong despite the recent emergence of some tensions in a regional context characterised by shifts in religious behavior and the rise of violence in the name of religion. The report makes recommendations for Burkina Faso’s political and religious authorities, in order to preserve this model of peaceful coexistence. Read on
  • SWAC: 
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    Despite the huge progress, Africa remains the least-connected continent. Africa’s broadband household penetration accounted for 15.4% in 2015, far behind the worldwide average of 52.3% (Asia and the Pacific - 46.4%; the Americas - 64.4%; and Europe - 84%). When it comes to individual Internet usage, Nigeria was the best-performing West African country in 2015, with almost one out of two Nigerians connected. Read on
  • Body: 
    This documentary traces the paths of 38 young migrants from Guinea-Bissau who became beggars in Senegal. The children who appear in the film have benefited from an education/re-integration programme that was implemented by the West African Network for the Protection of Children (RAO) and co-ordinated at the national level by civil society organisations. Read on
  • Country: 
    Opinion: 
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    What is it like to live in Lagos? The Guardian invites us on a journey to discover the evolution of West Africa’s biggest megacity. Almost 20 years ago, the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas teamed up with Nigerian counterpart Kunlé Adeyemi to rethink Lagos. Within the context of dictatorship, their project was never published. Two decades later, they talk about the past, present and future of this amazing city. Read on
  • Body: 
    Leaders from Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire met at the 5th Conference of the Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation in Yamoussokro on 29 July. It is the first official visit of President Christian Kaboré to Côte d’Ivoire. The relationship of the two countries was put under strain, in particular over questions related to the international arrest warrant for ousted Burkinabe President Blaise Campaoré and President Ouattara’s decision to grant him Ivoirian nationality, ending the prospect of his extradition to Burkina Faso. Read on
  • Members: 
    Body: 
    Following on an international conference held in late May at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters in Abuja, a group of experts commissioned by ECOWAS, UNICEF and the ILO, launched an appeal urging West African political authorities to eradicate child poverty. While health crises like the Ebola epidemic, natural disasters and conflicts have contributed to maintaining a high level of child poverty, above all it is inequalities and social exclusion that sustain the phenomenon. Read on
  • Opinion: 
    Body: 
    In an article posted on the new OECD blog on development, "Development Matters", UN-Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos explains why the challenges of the 21st century require a new concept of urbanisation in Africa. If African cities do not facilitate intra-city movement and do not improve their connections with rural areas, their urbanisation will not support the economic opportunities urbanisation has created elsewhere. Read on
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    SWAC: 
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    Seven West African countries rank among the top 20 countries in the world with the highest rate of child marriage [Niger (1), Chad (3), Mali (5), Guinea (6), Burkina Faso (8), Sierra Leone (13) and Nigeria (14)]. In Niger, three out of four girls marry before their 18th birthday, contributing to the highest fertility rate in the world of more than six children per woman. Nigeria and Niger are among the top 20 countries with the highest absolute number of child marriages, with 1.193 million and 244 000 married girls, respectively. Read on

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