WSJ

Uber Battles Locals for Future of African Taxis

NAIROBI, Kenya—In the traffic-clogged, potholed streets of Kenya’s capital city, there is a battle waging for the future of the African taxi ride that is pitting local startups eager to become the “Uber of Kenya” against, well, Uber. The winner will help answer a question dogging those who work in technology in the developing world: whether chaotic, impoverished cities like Nairobi will create the tools that bring the “bottom...
The Associated Press

Lead from old car batteries poisons Senegalese town

THIAROYE-SUR-MER, Senegal — First, it took the animals. Goats fell silent and refused to stand up. Chickens died in handfuls, then en masse. Street dogs disappeared. Then it took the children. Toddlers stopped talking and their legs gave out. Women birthed stillborns. Infants withered and died. Some said the houses were cursed. Others said the families were cursed. The mysterious illness killed 18 children in this town on the fringes of Dakar, Senegal's capital, before anyone in the outside world noticed. When they did - when the TV news aired parents' angry pleas for an investigation, when the doctors ordered more tests, when the West sent health experts - they did not find malaria, or polio or AIDS, or any of the diseases that kill the poor of Africa. They found lead.
The Associated Press

Nigeria's oil fires stoke claims of villagers to spoils

KEGBARA DERE, Nigeria -- The fire burned strong for 45 days and 45 nights, blanketing the village with ash and torching the young cassava plants in Ada Baniba's field. As she weeded, the flames flared out of the leaking oil pipeline behind her. It wasn't that no one could put the fire out. It was that no one would _ not the oil company that owned the pipeline, not the government and not the villagers breathing the fumes. The tale of Kegbara Dere's fire shows just how desperate the long-neglected communities of Nigeria's oil-rich river delta have become.
The Associated Press

Children suffer, but was drug study to blame?

KANO, Nigeria -- A security guard in this dusty Nigerian city is living with tragedy -- a 14-year-old son whose dazed eyes, slow speech and uneven gait signal brain damage. Mustapha Mohammed says he knows whom to blame -- Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker. New York-based Pfizer is facing four court cases over a decade-old drug study in Nigeria that included Mohammed's son. The company, which denies any wrongdoing, is accused of using a 1996 meningitis epidemic to push through a sloppily
The Associated Press

Liberians Leave U.S. to Build Businesses Back Home

MONROVIA, Liberia – Ciata Victor gave up a high-paying tech job, a spacious condo and a first-world life in Maryland to return home to an African capital that barely has electricity or running water. After 26 years of watching from afar as her native Liberia was ravaged by coups and war, Victor says she's home to stay. And she's started a business _ running a seven- computer Internet cafe using a generator and a borrowed satellite hookup.
The Associated Press

Few trust in Congo's currency

KINSHASA, Congo — Patrons heading to an outdoor bar in Congo's capital often stop first at a nearby money-changer, where they fork over just enough U.S. dollars for a beer. Then they sit down to enjoy their bottle, confident the value of what's in their wallets will not depreciate - at least not while they drink. The exchange is a glimpse into a giant shadow economy that gave up on anything government-backed over years of war, dictatorship and neglect. Whoever emerges as winner of a recent pre