Meanwhile... in Nouakchott, Mauritania, a determined group of teenagers is working to improve the country’s capital

In Cyprus, British soldiers have a high-tech ally in their fight against bird trapping: drones. And in Kigali, Rwanda, the country hosted its first robotics boot camp last month.

Joe Penney/Reuters/File
A mosque in Nouakchott, Mauritania

In Nouakchott, Mauritania, a determined group of teenagers is working to improve the country’s capital – one street at a time. 

When Nouakchott was picked as the capital of Mauritania in 1958, it was a sleepy fishing village with a population of 500. Today, the city is home to more than a million people and faces challenges associated with both climate change and massive expansion.

One major problem has been the disappearance of greenery. That’s why the teens have developed a project called “Make the City Green.” They’re working with the city’s cultural center and the German Development Agency toplant trees and place benches, offering something typically in short supply in Nouakchott – shady spots for rest and recreation.

“They’ll provide a place for school pupils to hang out together,” one young woman involved with the project told Deutsche Welle.

In Cyprus, British soldiers stationed on British Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) were concerned about bird poaching. The illegal practice of trapping songbirds in “mist” nets is big business – estimated at about $15 million annually by BirdLife Cyprus. But British forces said the practice was particularly rampant on open spaces on their bases.

Now, however, the soldiers have a high-tech ally in their fight against bird trapping. Drones – also used for surveillance and drug operations – are able to catch trappers in the act. The SBA police told Forces Network that 1,000 birds have been saved since last April thanks to drone surveillance. 

In Kigali, Rwanda,the country hosted its first robotics boot camp last month, bringing together 40 students from 20 schools nationwide. 

The three-week camp was the result of a partnership between senior engineering students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the engineering division of the Bank of Kigali. Today Rwanda has a largely agricultural economy, but someday, Regis Rugemanshuro, chief executive officer of BK Techouse, told Africa News, the country hopes to see “Made-in-Rwanda robots in agriculture, air, finance industry or construction.” 

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