Editor's note

Today is the first day of Meskerem, the month that marks the start of Ethiopia’s 13-month calendar. The new year is usually a time of joy and hope for new beginnings - but it’s being celebrated amid concerns about the country’s peace and stability. Yohannes Gedamu suggests that these concerns could be allayed if Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government commits to fostering a true spirit of reconciliation and national unity.

Pope Francis recently visited Madagascar, Mozambique and Mauritius. This was an important trip, given that Africa has the world’s third largest Catholic population, after the Americas and Europe. But, writes Joseph Hellweg, despite its huge presence on the continent, the church faces some serious challenges across Africa, among them the massive growth of Pentecostalism.

WhatsApp is more than just a messaging platform: it’s a tool that can be used for good or to spread disinformation and propaganda. This was certainly the case during Nigeria’s recent elections. In today’s episode of Pasha Nic Cheeseman explains how this played out and the lessons it holds for future African elections.

Julie Masiga

Peace + Security Editor

Top Stories

A woman holds the flags of the African Union and Ethiopia during celebrations to mark the Ethiopian New Year Sabir Olad/Wikimedia Commons

Ethiopia’s new year offers a chance to unite the country

Yohannes Gedamu, Georgia Gwinnett College

Amid New Year celebrations in Ethiopia, questions still linger around the possibility for sustained peace and stability.

Pope Francis at the Monument Mary Queen of Peace, in Port Louis, Mauritius on Sept. 9, 2019. AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Africa’s Catholic churches face competition and a troubled legacy as they grow

Joseph Hellweg, Florida State University

Pope Francis recently completed a tour of three African nations. His visit needs to be understood in context of the church's long history in Africa and its modern-day difficulties.

Health + Medicine

What works to stop gender-based violence and what doesn’t

Franziska Meinck, University of Edinburgh; Heidi Stöckl, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Marija Pantelic, Brighton and Sussex Medical School

There are a number of effective interventions to prevent gender-based violence among adult women and men at risk of HIV infection. But little is known about the effectiveness of these in young people.

Rebuilding health systems from the bottom up: a South African case study

Helen Schneider, University of the Western Cape

Top-down reforms like those proposed in the NHI Bill need to be complemented by a bottom-up process of health system strengthening.


Pasha 35: How WhatsApp played a role in the Nigerian elections

Ozayr Patel, The Conversation

WhatsApp can amplify and complement a candidate’s ground campaign. But it cannot replace it.

Pasha 34: How digital technologies can help farmers in Africa

Ozayr Patel, The Conversation

Over the past two decades digitisation has steadily transformed African farming.

From our international editions

Why do astronomers believe in dark matter?

Michael J. I. Brown, Monash University

Why do astronomers believe there's dark matter when it cannot be directly detected? Lets look at the evidence, and see what dark matter's presence means for our universe.

Will a vegetarian diet increase your risk of stroke?

Evangeline Mantzioris, University of South Australia

A new study has found a vegetarian diet is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, but linked to an increased risk of stroke. This is how we should – and shouldn't – interpret the results.

India must stop deforesting its mountains if it wants to fight floods

Gayathri D Naik, SOAS, University of London

The Western Ghats are a global biodiversity hotspot, but urgently need better legal protection.

Eight charts that explain why Germany could be heading for recession

Imko Meyenburg, Anglia Ruskin University

After a decade of nearly uninterrupted growth, the German economy is stuttering.


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