South Africa on the edge
Thirty years after the fall of apartheid, the country is facing multiple crises: low growth, scarce energy, record crime, corruption, persistent social inequalities inherited from segregation... The dream of a prosperous "rainbow nation" is getting further away every day.
André de Ruyter is "sorry". The managing director of the state-owned electricity company Eskom has nothing better to say to his customers, who are deprived of power on average three times a day, for two to four hours. These blackouts, modestly called "load shedding", are ruining the daily lives of 60 million South Africans, especially the poorest, those who cannot afford to buy a generator or solar panels. It is impossible to heat, cook, store food in the refrigerator, work on a computer... The situation is so catastrophic that in September, President Cyril Ramaphosa had to cut short his visit to Great Britain after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Decades of neglect and lack of investment in infrastructure have left Eskom unable to fulfill its mission. Ted Blom, an energy expert interviewed in late September by the eNCA news channel, points to the responsibility of André de Ruyter, who chose to slash maintenance operations in order...
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Global agriculture is at a crossroads. The planet is home to 8 billion people, a total which the UN predicts will rise to 10 billion by 2050. At the same time global food insecurity is rising due to the unprecedented rate of soil degradation and the increased frequency and severity of climate shocks, the pandemic, and regional conflicts. To keep humanity fed, farmers will have to nearly double their output. And it is possible to do just this while at the same time making a significant contribution to combatting climate change by rewarding farmers for increasing the amount of carbon stored in the soil they cultivate.
The national airline now serves over 127 destinations in more than 80 countries across four continents, while being profitable. Despite successive crises, Ethiopian Airlines is a unique African success story.
Officially, it is the richest country on the continent, just ahead of South Africa, boosted by its oil economy. It is also the most populated, with 210 million inhabitants including two-thirds living in "multidimensional" poverty. An ethnically complex giant, weakened by terrorist violence. A nation in permanent crisis, which is about to elect a new president, a "miracle" personality...