South African president Cyril Ramaphosa’s ascension to power three years ago was widely welcomed as signalling a new dawn for the country following the ruinous reign of his predecessor Jacob Zuma. Ramaphosa pledged to eradicate corruption, promote clean governance and get the government working efficiently. But his efforts have been met with opposition, especially from within the governing African National Congress.

Ramaphosa was elected president of the party on a thin margin, leaving him in a precarious position. His reform efforts have been frustrated by a faction allied to Zuma, ably led by the party’s powerful secretary-general, Ace Magashule. Susan Booysen reflects on recent developments within the ANC which, she argues, have tilted the scales towards Ramaphosa, with important implications for South Africa.

In Nigeria, the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant lockdown have brought to the fore deep structural flaws that continue to plague the country’s agricultural and food supply systems. To overcome food insecurity, especially in a pandemic, Ademola Adenle says Nigeria’s emergency preparedness requires a total overhaul of its agriculture sector and the supply chains that link producers to consumers.

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Thabo Leshilo

Politics + Society

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign against corruption is being undermined from within the governing ANC. EFE-EPA/Yeshiel Panchia

Precarious power tilts towards Ramaphosa in battle inside South Africa’s governing party

Susan Booysen, University of the Witwatersrand

Ramaphosa's rise to power in 2018 offered South Africans hope that he would end corruption. Indeed, he made promises to do so. But he has met with resistance, especially within the ANC.

A tomato vendor attends to buyer at a makeshift food market established to cushion the effect of COVID lockdown in Lagos. Photo by Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images

Pandemic underscores flaws in Nigeria’s farming and food supply chains

Ademola Adenle, Colorado State University

To overcome food insecurity, especially in a pandemic, Nigeria's emergency preparedness requires a total overhaul of it's agri-food supply chain.

Business + Economy

Ghana needs to rethink its small scale mining strategy. Here’s how

Richard Kwaku Kumah, Queen's University, Ontario

The devolution of small-scale mining decisions to municipal and district assemblies working in collaboration with traditional authorities is key to saving the industry in Ghana.

How to get COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries – and still keep patent benefits for drugmakers

Dalindyebo Shabalala, University of Dayton

India and South Africa are pressing the World Trade Organization to waive patent rights to help ramp up vaccine production. There's a better solution.

Science + Technology

Southern African hunters may have used symbolism in choosing bones to craft arrows

Justin Bradfield, University of Johannesburg

In several other parts of the world, people used the bones of animals that were important within their respective cultures to make tools.

Largest ever flying creatures had longer necks than giraffes – we found out how these pterosaurs kept their heads up

David Martill, University of Portsmouth; Cariad Williams, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Gigantic flying reptiles had impressive wingspans of up to 12 metres – and a special trick in their necks.

From our international editions

Just 3% of Earth’s land ecosystems remain intact – but we can change that

Andrew Plumptre, University of Cambridge

One-fifth of Earth's land could be restored to wilderness by reintroducing animals and improving management.

As the US plans its Afghan troop withdrawal, what was it all for?

Jared Mondschein, University of Sydney

As President Joe Biden said on announcing the US troop withdrawal by September, 'our reasons for remaining in Afghanistan have become increasingly unclear'.


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