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Africa: Continent of Plenty

Ten reasons why Africa can feed itself—and help feed the rest of the world too

16 min read
Africa: Continent of Plenty
Photo: Tony Karumba/Getty Images

Kojo Anku left a high-paying job on Wall Street last year to return to his native Ghana, not to replicate his financial career there but to launch an aquaponics farm, raising organic lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs indoors in nutrient-rich vats. That business, in central Accra, is now booming. “I feel I’m making a bigger difference in the lives of others by applying my knowledge and capital to food production,” Anku says. “Sure, my family and I are adjusting, but it’s worth it to help Ghana leapfrog to the forefront of innovative farming.”

Anku is one of tens of thousands of African émigrés who are returning home with money and skills, hoping to cash in on a farming boom that is remaking the continent. According to the World Bank, agricultural GDP in sub-Saharan African grew from 2.3 percent per year in the 1980s to 3.8 percent per year from 2000 to 2005—a jump of 65 percent.

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This Startup Is Using AI to Help Keep Store Shelves Stocked

Wisy’s platform eases supply-chain issues by tracking inventory

4 min read
Phone screen with Wisy platform on black background

Store employees take a picture of a product on display using Wisy's platform, and the AI records information based on the photo.

Wisy Platforms

Shoppers are seeing more and more empty shelves, as stores around the world struggle to keep products stocked. The situation is the result of supply-chain issues caused in part by the COVID-19 pandemic. The product-unavailability rate increased from 5 percent to 15 percent during the past three years, according to the Consumer Brands Association.

To make it easier for stores to track inventory, startup Wisy developed an AI platform that uses image recognition to detect which products are out of stock or running low, as well as those that are available but haven’t yet been put on display.

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When Gamers Get Nasty

Researchers grapple with subjectivity as they develop algorithms to detect toxicity in online gaming

2 min read
A man wearing a headset is seen in a dark room playing video games
Getty Images

Online gaming is a chance for players to come together, socialize, and enjoy some friendly competition. Unfortunately, this enjoyable activity can be hindered by abusive language and toxicity, negatively impacting the gaming experience and causing psychological harm. Gendered and racial toxicity, in particular, are all too common in online gaming.

To combat this issue, various groups of researchers have been developing artificial-intelligence models that can detect toxic behavior in real time as people play. One group recently developed a new such model, which is described in a study published 23 May in IEEE Transactions on Games. While the model can detect toxicity with a fair amount of accuracy, its development demonstrates just how challenging it can be to determine what is considered toxic—a subjective matter.

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Get the Coursera Campus Skills Report 2022

Download the report to learn which job skills students need to build high-growth careers

1 min read

Get comprehensive insights into higher education skill trends based on data from 3.8M registered learners on Coursera, and learn clear steps you can take to ensure your institution's engineering curriculum is aligned with the needs of the current and future job market. Download the report now!