Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by heavy flooding along the Niger River over the last few weeks. Niger, Mali and Benin have been particularly hard hit, with dozens of deaths, tens of thousands of houses destroyed and vast areas of farmland submerged by rising waters.
Kafoumba Koné sounds almost smug. "Our first rice harvest is in, and we're getting ready to plant again," he says, surveying his farm in southeastern Guinea. "Other farmers who have not yet tried NERICA are still preparing for their only harvest of the year."
Fatou (40), Awa (32) and Aissatou Gaye (24) sit in a meditative mood on the tiled floor outside their matrimonial home in Keur Massar, a township in the Senegalese capital Dakar.
"It was Ibrahima Sarr, a friend and fellow fisherman, who got me involved with smuggling people across the seas." Senegalese fisherman Doudou Ndoye speaks with the bittersweet conviction of a man redeemed.
Yacouba Coulibaly was pursuing a doctorate in education at Cocody University in Abidjan before Côte d’Ivoire’s post-election violence started in 2010. But his classes were routinely disrupted by armed members of a powerful student federation that wished to hold meetings instead.
The seeds were sown, and the harvest is beginning to come in. Burkina Faso farmers are reaping the benefits of their government's programme to develop and popularise improved varieties of maize.
Mohamed Ceesay, a 20-year-old farmer from the Central River Region in the Gambia, is a high school dropout. But thanks to an initiative to discourage local youths from emigrating to Europe, he earns almost half the salary of a government minister from his rice harvest.
In order to ensure that he and his family survive this year's failed harvest, Adams Seidu, like farmers in other rural communities in Ghana’s Northern Region, has implemented a strategy for survival. They are using what Seidu calls the "one-zero-one strategy" for children, and the "zero-zero-one strategy" for adults.
Salimata Coulibaly, director of a medical centre in the town of Korhogo in the northern Cote d’Ivoire region of Savanes, stood before a chart displaying before-and-after photos of local children – one taken when each child arrived at the centre, and one after he or she responded to treatment for malnutrition.
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.
A record number of women were sworn in as legislators as Senegal's new parliament was inaugurated on Monday. Sixty-four women now have seats in this West African country's 150-member National Assembly, thanks to a law on gender parity.
The death of President John Atta Mills will have a sobering effect on national politics in the months leading up to Ghana’s December 2012 election, according to the Executive Secretary of the West Africa Network for Peace, Emmanuel Bombandey.
Eliane Negui knew just what to do when she got word that a group of inmates had escaped from Abidjan’s main prison, MACA, earlier this month. After all, the 24-year-old, who has lived across a dirt road from the facility for nine years, had witnessed the same scenario just two months before.
Salou Bandé is proud to stand at the front of the only classroom in the village of Bénnogo, 90 kilometres north of the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou, sharing his knowledge with his students. He is part of an initiative to improve education for nomadic children in the West African country.
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.