Energy Shortage

Ethiopia’s first waste-to-energy facility started construction in 2013 and was inaugurated this week as part of a United Nations environmental program to transform the Koshe dump site into the Reppie Project. The facility converts waste to energy by burning the waste, heating water that then produces steam which drives a turbine generator. The Government of Ethiopia working with Cambridge Industries Limited, based in Singapore, and a Danish engineering firm called, China National Electric Engineering, and Ramboll have constructed the $2.6 billion dollar facility. Consuming about 1,400 tons of waste daily, it will provide an estimated 30% of household electricity needs in the city of Addis Ababa.

Addis Ababa is one of the cities currently facing intense population growth from migration and has an unemployment rate of over 20% according to Africa News. This combination, the growth of migrants and unemployment rate, is what has turned many cities into “slum” cities across the continent. A landslide at the dumpsite where some people have been living and scavenging killed 114 people back in March. China has seen little competition for these development projects, and local Ethiopians are concerned about the long-term economic and political costs associated with this growth.

Food Shortage

Aquaponics provides some hope to feed the masses. The company, Aquaponics Africa currently operates a farm site in Northern Natal producing vegetables and tilapia. The method of aquaponics dates back to ancient Egypt where plants are grown from naturally fertilized water from fish. The process is currently the most water and energy efficient in the field of horticulture and fisheries. Given the extreme environmental vulnerability of Africa due to climate change, this method removes the common issue of desertification which is currently claiming farmland on the continent. 

Crime Surges

Anti-Counterfeiting measures used in nanotechnology, such as DNA tags for deposition on nanoelectronics wafers and fluorescent nanostructures may have a significant effect on illicit manufacturing and shipping currently threatening the economic stability in many African countries and multinational outsourcing. Anti-Counterfeiting in manufacturing and currency is a $650bn market annually.

“A study by the OECD (pdf) concluded that international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods could have accounted for up to USD 250 billion in 2007. The OECD estimates that the share of counterfeit and pirated goods in world trade is close to 2%. And these figures do not even include domestically produced and consumed products, or non-tangible pirated digital products. Industry segments for which counterfeits are a significant problem include pharmaceuticals, airplane parts, auto parts, and designer clothing.”

The technology can also be applied to the arms trafficking threat by applying DNA primers and tags to objects. This will have a significant impact on counter-terrorism operations across the Horn of Africa the Sahel’s Arc of Instability. It can also be applied to packaging material for AID programs such as medical supplies that circulate through terrorist held areas. Last year, Nigeria’s, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (NANO+) was declared the leaders in the biosynthesis of nanoparticles research and development.

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