The UN recently warned of the risk of famine in Sudan where more than a year of conflict has killed civilians and devastated livelihoods on a massive scale. Around 18 million people are acutely hungry, including 3.6 million children who are acutely malnourished. Oliver Kiptoo Kirui, who has been researching the conditions on the ground, provides insights into the scale of the country’s food emergency.

For 50 years South Africa’s longest-running festival has turned the rural city of Makhanda into a theatre, music, art and craft hub, attracting thousands of visitors a year in the middle of winter. It’s proof of a tenacious artistic community – and also of how the cultural and creative industries can benefit a society. The festival contributes an estimated US$4.5 million to Makhanda’s economy every year. And, as economist Jen Snowball explains, its impact can be measured in many other ways.

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Julius Maina

Regional Editor East Africa

Sudan food emergency: local researcher unpacks scale of the disaster and what action is needed

Oliver Kiptoo Kirui, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Rural households are especially hard hit by food shortages due to disrupted farming, limited access to markets and soaring food prices.

South Africa’s biggest arts festival turns 50 – we assess its impact

Jen Snowball, Rhodes University

South Africa’s National Arts Festival’s economic impact on its host city, Makhanda, is estimated to be US$4.5 million a year. But it also makes an impact on social and artistic levels.

Are presidents good role models for vaccination uptake? DRC study shows only if they’re trusted, and people get to know about it

Nik Stoop, University of Antwerp; Elie Lunanga, University of Antwerp; Lara Collart, University of Antwerp; Marijke Verpoorten, University of Antwerp

Vaccinating public village leaders or respected older community members might be an effective approach to increasing vaccine uptake.

Malawi farming experiment shows how simple changes can boost maize yields and improve soil

Alan Dixon, University of Worcester

New research has found that smallholder farmers in Malawi can grow bigger maize crops if they plant maize with legumes in deep beds with natural ditches to catch water.

African elephants address one another with name-like calls − similar to humans

Mickey Pardo, Colorado State University

Humans aren’t the only animals that have names for each other − and studying animals that use names can teach researchers more about how human names evolved.

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