BUSINESS

The grasscutter shows why it is hard to stop bushmeat hunting

african inspired, BUSINESS, News, Newspaper, NIGERIA, Nigerian News, Nigerian state programs, wazobia companies
The irresistible allure of rat on a platter THE cane rat, a large, blunt-nosed version of its urban cousin, looks docile enough. But it has a taste for fingers. “You need skill to be able to handle them,” says Francis Ababio, who teaches students how to rear the rodents, also known as grasscutters, at Kwadaso Agricultural College in Kumasi, Ghana’s second city. Grasscutter meat is a delicacy in the country’s cities and a part of rural diets. Digested grass found in its stomach is also said to make delicious soups. Most grasscutter meat still comes from the wild. But conservationists and officials are trying to curtail bushmeat hunting because of concerns that it is wrecking the environment and upending food chains. The Ebola outbreak in 2014 dented demand, but some 579m forest mammals,

Ethiopia is struggling to make housing affordable

african inspired, BUSINESS, News, Newspaper, NIGERIA, Nigerian News, Nigerian state programs, wazobia companies
ELEVEN years ago Elsa, a middle-aged widow, won the lottery. The prize was not cash, but the deed to a spacious, three-bedroom flat in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Today she lives there with her four adult children. The deed, now laminated, hangs proudly on her wall. Elsa is a beneficiary of Ethiopia’s public-housing scheme, one of the most ambitious in Africa. Since it began in 2006, some 250,000 flats have been built and transferred to people in Addis Ababa and other towns. Like Elsa, they are nearly all winners of a computerised lottery, which allocates flats as they become available. The government aims to build 50,000 a year in the capital over the next decade. In theory, the programme should just about pay for itself. All land in Ethiopia is state-owned, which reduces up

Congo and Angola: a tale of two kleptocracies

african inspired, BUSINESS, News, Newspaper, NIGERIA, Nigerian News, Nigerian state programs, wazobia companies
Dokolo, a man with a manifesto IN THE nightclubs of Kinshasa, the raucous capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, adverts are everywhere for Congolese beer. From Primus, one of the biggest brands, with its label in the colours of the national flag, to Mützig, a German-themed lager, there is a choice that would be enviable in other African countries. The brews are typically served in intimidating 750ml bottles. Yet these days, ask for a beer and you are as likely to be given a can of Cuca, a less appealing Angolan fizz. It is not just beer: walk through a Kinois supermarket and every other product seems to be from Angola. For over a year Angolan goods have flooded into Congo—so much so that on August 28th the government announced that it would try to ban the imports. Congolese busin

As Islamic State withers, the alliance against it is fraying

african inspired, BUSINESS, News, Newspaper, NIGERIA, Nigerian News, Nigerian state programs, wazobia companies
DOWN the Euphrates river, halfway between Deir ez-Zor and Syria’s border with Iraq, lies Dura Europos, an ancient metropolis where the Parthians of Persia sparred with the Roman Empire for control of the Middle East. History, it seems, is repeating itself. As Islamic State (IS) withers, America’s coalition is racing to secure the same stretch of river, before Iran and its allies. Never have America and its allies had such a hold on Syrian territory. In the north, America has worked with the Kurds to carve out a self-governing region. From there it provides support for Kurdish and Arab forces pushing down the northern bank of the river. Its Syrian proxies have fanned out in pockets around the border with Jordan, from Deraa to north of al-Tanf, a coalition base. But like their Parthian f

Oman is benefiting from the standoff over Qatar, for now

african inspired, BUSINESS, News, Newspaper, NIGERIA, Nigerian News, Nigerian state programs, wazobia companies
THE Omani port of Sohar usually slows down during the summer. But this year it is buzzing. According to a government official, cargo volumes are up by 30% in the past few months, as more ships arrive carrying goods bound for Qatar. Such is the level of traffic that the Qatari ambassador to Oman hails the sultanate’s ports as the new gateway to his country, supplanting the port of Jebel Ali in Dubai, which is part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Oman sits at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, but beyond the Strait of Hormuz there is discord. On the western and southern shores lie Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have cut diplomatic and commercial ties to Qatar, their neighbour, over its alleged support for extremists and ties to Iran. Oman has stayed out of the dispute. It is h

The jihadists of Islamic State are fighting for their survival

african inspired, BUSINESS, News, Newspaper, NIGERIA, Nigerian News, Nigerian state programs, wazobia companies
IT IS less a chaotic rout than a tactical retreat, but suddenly Islamic State (IS) is losing ground quite fast. At both ends of its self-proclaimed caliphate, the jihadist group is ceding territory. It quietly withdrew from Tal Afar, the largest Iraqi city still under its control, on August 27th. Simultaneously, hundreds of IS fighters and their families emerged from their caves in the Qalamoun mountains, astride Lebanon’s border with Syria, and boarded buses heading east. Trapped between Syrian and Lebanese forces on the ground, and Russian bombardment from the air, they gave up after a weeklong battle. Increasingly, the jihadists are being squeezed into a ribbon along the Euphrates valley. Having lost the Iraqi city of Mosul, and on the retreat in the Syrian city of Raqqa, their last