Editor's note

The sprawling Serengeti-Mara plain that borders Tanzania and Kenya is under threat. Joseph Ogutu explains how human activities are putting huge pressure on the area's environment, natural resources and wildlife. Meanwhile, Cyril Grueter describes the risks taken by Rwanda's vulnerable gorilla population in the animals' search for sodium-rich crops.

For his part, Jeffrey W Paller discusses why the success of cities' sustainable development policies depends so much on the residents in the very neighbourhoods most affected by climate change. And Julien Benoit introduces a new fossil find that could shed light on how ancient sabre toothed predators actually used their terrifying teeth.

Moina Spooner

Commissioning Editor: East Africa

Top Stories

People are taking a huge toll on the plains of the Serengeti-Mara

Joseph Ogutu, University of Hohenheim

Intense and extensive changes mean that the Serengeti-Mara area's wildlife has an unsure future.

Rwanda’s gorillas have figured out where to find their sodium fix. But it’s dangerous

Cyril Grueter, University of Western Australia

In Rwanda gorillas have been leaving protected areas to raid sodium rich crops.

How everyday politics shapes the way African cities are run

Jeffrey W Paller, University of San Francisco

Focusing on everyday politics can help explain why powerful interest groups undermine policies that might improve the public good.

New fossil find may shed light on how sabre toothed predators evolved

Julien Benoit, University of the Witwatersrand

The discovery of a fossilised large predator is a rare event that offers insight into these beasts from the past.

Politics + Society

Bouteflika steps aside as Algerians push to reclaim and own their history

Dounia Mahlouly, SOAS, University of London

Algeria's elite has built its legitimacy on a distorted memory of the war of independence.

Why cabinet, rather than parliament, is the centre of power for African women

Melinda Adams, James Madison University ; John Scherpereel, James Madison University

In many African states power is concentrated in the executive branch. That's why women's representation in cabinet matters.

Debate continues about the media’s role in driving Rwanda’s genocide

Amanda Grzyb, Western University

Although many years have passed, the Rwandan genocide still has much to teach us about the centrality of media in cases of state violence.

Portraying Rwanda’s genocide as an encounter with hell

Chigbo Arthur Anyaduba, University of Winnipeg

Stories about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda have been evolving as descent narratives telling about journeys through hell.

Business + Economy

The DRC and China’s Sicomines: why future deals should be different

Andoni Maiza Larrarte, Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea; Gloria Claudio-Quiroga, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria

The deal between the DRC and the Chinese company Sicomines didn't take into account how the Congolese people would benefit.

Cyclone Idai shows why long-term disaster resilience is so crucial

Channing Arndt, CGIAR System Organization; Claudia Ringler, The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Cyclone Idai hit poor countries the hardest and shows why disaster resilience is a necessity.


Pasha 13: Fake news and fallacies part 2

Ozayr Patel, The Conversation

To fight fake news, it's crucial that science is spread in an understandable way.

Pasha 12: Fake news and fallacies part 1

Ozayr Patel, The Conversation

In the era of fake news, science can play a crucial role.


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