Editor's note

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has announced plans to relocate the country’s capital from the congested, sinking city of Jakarta to the island of Borneo. Luca Tacconi warns that the move could increase the risk of fires and environmental damage in Borneo, without solving Jakarta’s problems.

Eight years ago Tunisians embarked on popular protests that toppled authoritarian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The protesters were fed up with the absence of democracy as well as fundamental daily issues like joblessness and food shortages. Now, as Tunisians prepare to elect a new president for the second time since what became known as the “Jasmine Revolution” Pamela Abbott, Andrea Teti and Roger Sapsford set out why the poll will be a major challenge for the North African nation’s fledgling democracy.

Moina Spooner

Commissioning Editor: East and Francophone Africa

Top Stories

The hope is that building ‘a smart city in the forest’ in North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara regencies will ease Jakarta’s myriad problems. But it’s not that simple. EPA/Stringer

Moving Indonesia’s capital city won’t fix Jakarta’s problems and will increase fire risk in Borneo

Luca Tacconi, Australian National University

The government has reportedly set aside 180,000 hectares of land for construction of a new capital in East Kalimantan.

Tunisians protest against tax hikes, austerity measures and increased food prices. EPA-EFE/Mohamed Messara

Tunisians head for the polls amid dimming faith in democracy

Pamela Abbott, University of Aberdeen; Andrea Teti, University of Aberdeen; Roger Sapsford, University of Aberdeen

Western perceptions of what's happening in Tunisia differ sharply with Tunisia's daily reality: the truth is that its political transformation is in trouble.


Scholarly success of African universities: common contributing factors

David Mba, De Montfort University

With limited resources and inadequate infrastructure, African universities appear to be under tremendous strain. But some are beating the odds and getting it right.

How to teach sex education in Indonesia: academics weigh in

Luthfi T. Dzulfikar, The Conversation

Scholars weigh in on what sex education should look like for Indonesian schools. To this day the subject does not have a formal curriculum.

Environment + Energy

Ships’ risky fuel transfers are threatening African Penguins

Peter Ryan, University of Cape Town; Katrin Ludynia, University of Cape Town; Lorien Pichegru, Nelson Mandela University

Oil spills from a project that's designed to harness the economic potential of South Africa's oceans are threatening the world's largest remaining African Penguin colony.

How Kenya’s mega wind power project is hurting communities

Zoe Cormack, University of Oxford

Our research shows how a large scale renewable energy project can be plagued by many of the same troubling impacts on local communities as oil and extractive industries.

Meet the super corals that can handle acid, heat and suffocation

Emma F Camp, University of Technology Sydney; David Suggett, University of Technology Sydney

How super is a super coral? And what are they super at? Protecting our coral reefs means we need to find out.

How potential of massive e-waste dump in Ghana can be harnessed

Alison Stowell, Lancaster University

Sites like Agbogbloshie provides a valuable service. They offer opportunities for job creation, profit and cleaning up environments littered with waste.

Science + Technology

West African states have a science and technology plan. But it’s going nowhere

Joseph Ato Forson, University of Education

Policies that will drive investment and change the structure of economies in the West African sub region are facing several challenges.

Technostress: how social media keeps us coming back for more even when it makes us unhappy

Monideepa Tarafdar, Lancaster University; Christian Maier, University of Bamberg; Sven Laumer, Friedrich–Alexander University Erlangen–Nürnberg (FAU)

Looking for a short-term fix from the very thing that is causing you long-term problems is a symptom of addiction.