U.S. Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta has applauded France's surprise airstrikes on Islamist rebels in northern Mali that began late last week and continued over the weekend.
Even as U.S. and French officials suggest that a United Nations resolution on military intervention in Mali could come by the end of the week, concerns are rising that such action could do far more harm than good.
Charles Kayongo of Uganda is a father of two girls aged five and three. And even though age-old traditions among his ethnic group, the Baganda, say a man should have an unlimited number of children and a son as an heir, Kayongo refuses to have more children.
West African heads of state have restated their determination that no member of Mali's transitional government will be allowed to stand in the country's next presidential election. Their statement has fed a growing debate over who should be allowed to run.
Despite growing western concerns about the continuing reign in northern Mali by an Al Qaeda-linked group, analysts here say it will take months before conditions could be ripe to oust it from the region, by military force if necessary.
A failure to focus on small-scale economics could be the most significant obstacle to stability in North Africa in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, economists, diplomats and development workers warned here on Friday.
The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday began to debate a plan to deploy West African peacekeeping troops to tackle the six-month Islamist insurgency in northern Mali.
Military action by West African states against the insurrection in northern Mali would be extremely risky without diplomatic support from neighbouring Algeria and Mauritania, according to International Crisis Group researcher Gilles Yabi.
Millet has become the basic ingredient for an enriched flour at the heart of an effort to establish a local, sustainable response to malnutrition in Mali.
Each year, 16 million girls aged 15-19 give birth. 50,000 of them die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. And 95 percent of those births occur in developing countries.
President Barack Obama on Thursday authorised the release of 10 million dollars in emergency funding to help with the refugee crisis stemming from continued violence in northern Mali, in response to warnings that international aid efforts were in danger of drying up in coming months.
Tuareg and Islamist rebel groups which seized control of northern Mali in March are trying to find common ground for the joint administration of the territory. Residents of the region fear that individual and collective freedoms will not be respected if such an alliance sets up an Islamic state.
The ambassador of Niger to the United States, Maman Sidikou, on Thursday called on the U.S. to step up military collaboration with African countries to support a potential intervention in Mali.
Her neat, bright yellow headscarf matches the rest of her outfit, but contrasts with her weary expression. Sokona Soumounou sits a little apart from the crowd queueing for assistance from the World Food Programme in the southern Mali town of Ségou.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson says Malian soldiers who overthrew the government on Mar. 22 have neither the right to remain in power nor the strength to deal with humanitarian and security challenges facing the West African country.