Editor's note

At the end of the Cold War the US distanced itself almost entirely from Africa. But more recently it has returned to seeing sub-Saharan Africa as a site of geopolitical and commercial interests. Maria Ryan outlines the three factors she argues drove this change of focus, and how the US ought to proceed in its dealings with countries on the continent.

Cameroon introduced a law some 25 years ago that gave people living on the edge of forests the right to own and manage forest areas. The idea was that this would reduce poverty and protect the forests. But, explain Serge Mandiefe Piabuo, Divine Foundjem Tita and Peter A Minang, poor governance by community committees has hampered the law’s effectiveness.

Caroline Southey


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US National Security Advisor John Bolton sees China as a threat to Washington in Africa. EPA-EFE/Shawn Thew

US still sees Africa as important. But it must learn from past mistakes

Maria Ryan, University of Nottingham

The US needs to review whether a security agenda based on US priorities will solve problems in sub-Saharan Africa.

About 40% of Cameroon’s territory is covered in forest. Philippe JONG/Shutterstock

What Cameroon can teach others about managing community forests

Serge Mandiefe Piabuo, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF); Divine Foundjem Tita, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF); Peter A Minang, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

Forest communities have seen little or no change in improving livelihoods and stopping deforestation.

Politics + Society

Rekindling hope is the missing elixir needed to fix South Africa’s economy

Brian Levy, University of Cape Town

Half of South Africa's population remain chronically poor, and the quarter in-between struggle to stay out of reach of destitution.

Student resistance in South Africa: the SASO nine trial and Steve Biko

Anne Heffernan, Durham University

Fifty years after the founding of South African Students' Organisation this anti-apartheid movement remains a model for student activists.

Health + Medicine

Kenyan hospital opens human milk bank – a rarity in sub-Saharan Africa

Elizabeth Kimani-Murage, Brown University

The WHO has called for the global scale-up of human milk banks.

Collaboration and teamwork could improve South Africa’s health system

Firdouza Waggie, University of the Western Cape

Sharing expertise and experiences of different health and social care professionals can improve health care.

From our international editions

Notre Dame: how a rebuilt cathedral could be just as wonderful

Claire Smith, Flinders University; Jordan Ralph, Flinders University

With modern technology, it is entirely possible for the cathedral to be recreated with near-accuracy to the original. We can do this and keep the original building's spirit and feeling.

Notre Dame: writers and the shock of destruction through history

Alice Kelly, University of Oxford

Words are as important as pictures for helping us come to terms with such a huge cultural loss.

Why are we so moved by the plight of the Notre Dame?

Jose Antonio Gonzalez Zarandona, Deakin University; Cristina Garduño Freeman, University of Melbourne

Images of Notre Dame on fire have elicited an outpouring of grief around the world and online. This response raises the question of why we feel more connected to some heritage places than others.

Indonesia’s elections: why do they matter and what’s at stake?

Yohanes Sulaiman, Universitas Jendral Achmad Yani

Here is what you need to know about Indonesia's elections and what's at stake.


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