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Growing urban middle class in Africa spurs food production that could curb hunger

Rome — The rise of an urban middle class across much of Africa is stoking demand for food that could curb hunger and cut poverty in rural outposts,The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said rural communities were in “a state of crisis”, with high poverty rates and poor services driving hunger and malnutrition.

One in five people, or more than 256-million, are hungry in Africa, according to the latest figures from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. But there are opportunities too, the IFPRI said in its annual report.In Africa, a growing middle class with higher purchasing power is fuelling a spike in demand for food — with an interesting twist, says IFPRI Africa director Ousmane Badiane.“They are not just asking for imported food, wine and cheese but to have traditional staples on the tables.

But they don’t want to eat them the traditional way,” he said.This has given birth to a large number of small agribusinesses that process, package and distribute such foods, creating jobs and opportunities for small farmers, he said.In Senegal, new processing technologies led to a growth in ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat millet products and reversed years of low and declining consumption of this healthy, gluten-free grain, said the report.Similarly, domestic brands of processed local dairy and grain products now have a significant presence in Ghana, Mali and Tanzania, it added.

This sector is likely to grow further, with projections that most traditional staples such as millet and cassava would be consumed in processed form within 20 years, Badiane said.The African Continental Free Trade Agreement, expected to come into force this year, would also help, he said, by allowing farmers and businesses to tap into a market of 1.2-billion people across 55 countries.Turning opportunity into reality needs technology and financing that would allow locals to innovate and compete, he said.

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Microsoft Refines the Experience with Android Phones on Windows 10

Microsoft has announced a new series of improvements for the Your Phone app on Windows 10, as the company continues the work on bringing PCs and mobile devices closer together.
Using this app, you can access your photo gallery, read and send text messages, and receive mobile notification right on your desktop.
Last week, Roberto Bojorquez, Lead Program Manager at Microsoft, announced a new test for insiders that included a new First Run Experience, as well as hyperlink support within Messages.In other words, Your Phone should now be easy to discover and configure when launching it for the first time, while links in your phone messages are now clearly marked as a hyperlink, which means you can open them on the Windows 10 device with just a click.
No ETA for production devicesThis week, Bojorquez introduced other improvements, including bolded fonts for message headers and phone numbers, as well as an unread count for text messages. The Microsoft engineer also revealed the company is working on new icons for the Your Phone app, and they should be rolling out to insiders in the near future.
At this point, all the improvements mentioned here are only available for 50 percent of the insiders, and Microsoft is clearly embracing a cautious approach for the time being. Most likely, if no major bug is discovered, all insiders would be allowed to try them out in the coming weeks.
There are no details as to when the Your Phone update could go live for production devices, but I’m guessing the upcoming release of Windows 10 April 2019 Update (version 1903) could be a potential target. This OS feature update is projected to be finalized in March and released to users in April.
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