Africa's unprecedented economic growth, projected at 5% for the foreseeable future, is taking place in a very different environmental context to the 19th and 20th century growth spurts of Europe, the Americas, Japan and China. So to anyone interested in sustainable development, Africa’s next steps are fascinating.
Sub-Saharan Africa produces the same amount of energy as Spain – and excluding South Africa, less electricity than used by New York. But ambitious new power projects will soon light up the continent, and allow Africa to bypass the dirty old technologies that powered the growth of the developed world.
A dozen robots exploring deep in the platinum mines of the North West province to make sure conditions are safe sounds like something out of Isaac Asimov's Robot novels. But the idea is becoming a reality thanks to a team of South African robotics engineers at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.