More than 26 million South Africans – out of a population of 62 million people – depend on social grants. Given the country’s extraordinarily high unemployment rate, it is no wonder that grants – from old age pensions to children’s grants – have become an emotive political issue. The governing African National Congress stands accused of politicising grants, claiming that they would be lost if the opposition came to power. However, new research by Leila Patel and Yolanda Sadie shows that the fear of losing grants will not be a deciding factor in the country’s upcoming election.

Ghana is losing its forests at a rapid rate. A growing population and a rise in mining activities and cocoa production are some of the reasons. Policies to stop the loss of valuable tree cover have not been successful. Forestry researcher John Tennyson Afele explains why and suggests ways forward.

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Thabo Leshilo

Politics + Society

Over 26 million South Africans get a social grant. Fear of losing the payment used to be a reason to vote for the ANC, but no longer – study

Leila Patel, University of Johannesburg; Yolanda Sadie, University of Johannesburg

Many grant recipients are young, unemployed, and not necessarily loyal to the governing ANC like older generations.

Ghana’s forests are being wiped out: what’s behind this and why attempts to stop it aren’t working

John Tennyson Afele, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)

Ghana is losing forests because of cocoa farming, firewood harvesting, mining and logging.

Sudan’s descent into chaos sets stage for al-Qaida to make a return to historic stronghold

Sara Harmouch, American University

With both sides in Sudan’s civil war accused of recruiting Islamist militiamen, terrorist groups look set to capitalize on a power vacuum.

South Africa will be president of the G20 in 2025: two much-needed reforms it should drive

Danny Bradlow, University of Pretoria

South Africa should encourage the G20 to commission studies on the challenges that the international community faces, and suggest responses.

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