Culture & Society

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    Conakry has become the “World Book Capital” for a year. The Guinean capital is the first city in francophone Africa to obtain this status, which is awarded annually by UNESCO, and is the third African city to be named after Alexandria in 2002 and Port Harcourt, Nigeria in 2014. Through the programme, Guinea will organise monthly cultural events aimed at highlighting the country’s authors and culture. Read on
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    The Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo travelled to Benin and Senegal with two Belgian celebrities working with the United Nations on issues related to the rights of women and children. Their working visit was part of the “She Decides” initiative - led by Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands and Sweden - which focuses on improving the rights of young girls and women, especially on sexual and reproductive health. Read on
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    Of the millions of children who do not complete elementary school in West Africa each year, one third suffer from a disability. Their condition means they are confronted with many barriers to education. As part of its inclusive education programme, Handicap International seeks to remove the many barriers to the education of 170 000 children with disabilities in nine West African countries. Read on
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    Several decades of gender debates, special events and development goals dedicated to the empowerment of women, add up to only modest improvements on the ground. “What should count, though, is not the number of commitments we make, but the true progress we achieve on the ground […] If men were ready to help women, things would move much faster,” points out Julia Wanjiru from the Sahe land West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD) in an article published on the OECD Insights blog. Read on
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    Since 1985, 8 March has been a public holiday in Burkina Faso. Thomas Sankara had the idea to keep women from going the market on that day, and demand that men do the shopping and cooking instead. This inversion of gender roles was intended to remind men about the realities of the daily grind of their wives, mothers and sisters, and to, above all, allow men to experience those things first-hand. The president of Burkina Faso also left his mark by making himself a tireless advocate for women prostitutes. Read on
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    It was seven days of movie fever! This was the feeling that gripped the African continent during the 25th Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), which ran from 25 February to 4 March. Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis won the Golden Stallion prize for his movie “Félicité”. Read on
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    As we mark International Women’s Day today with a large number of events organised across West Africa, it is a timely moment to look at progress made and remaining obstacles to achieving gender equality. The SWAC Secretariat has prepared a series of articles, documents, maps & facts. Did you know? Since 1984, 8th of March is a public holiday in Burkina Faso. Read on
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    Cotonou is getting ready to host the 5th UEMOA Regional Trade Fair, which aims to foster more economic integration within the UEMOA. From 25 November until 10 December, some 400 exhibition stands will attract visitors’ interests and promote their products under the “Made in UEMOA” label. Read on
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    The ECOWAS Commission is about to launch a television channel and a radio station in every country in the region that will broadcast programs promoting regional integration. These programs will focus on subjects that the Commission believes are powerful engines for regional development, in particular, on science, technology and innovation. Read on
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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

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