Entering Nairobi's fetid slums the senses are first assaulted by a gagging stench and the sight of rubbish everywhere, some even hanging from trees or smouldering in acrid fires. The city government does not recognise the ''informal settlements'' where more than 60% of the population live, so no services are provided and no garbage collected.
An African summit overran on Tuesday as the leaders struggled to avoid a damaging public split over moves to unite the continent under one federal government. The three-day meeting was one day longer than other recent summits and had only one agenda item, the campaign for a United States of Africa.
African leaders argued fiercely on Monday over whether to rapidly create a single state stretching from the Cape to Cairo, with one small group threatening to break away. Delegates said the atmosphere in an African Union summit was charged as a group of states led by Libya's Moammar Gadaffi and Senegal's Abdoulaye Wade argued with a more gradualist majority led by South Africa's Thabo Mbeki.
Nigeria's election was a failure and must be rerun, local observers said on Sunday, but the government said coup plotters were trying to discredit the poll. The vote on Saturday in Africa's most populous nation was marred by violence, fraud and intimidation. First results on Sunday indicated continued dominance by the ruling People's Democratic Party.
Nigeria votes on Saturday in a presidential election beset by fears that abuses and violence will wreck a milestone in African democracy. Concern that Nigeria's first handover from one civilian leader to another would be compromised was underlined only hours before the vote when militants attacked government buildings in Nigeria's oil region with dynamite and assault rifles.
Nigeria holds a presidential election on Saturday that is widely seen as a democratic watershed for this country and the whole of Africa. But two days before the vote there are serious doubts over whether it will be seen as a valid, democratic election.
A 79-year-old American missionary and her daughter, the wife of a United States diplomat, are cut down by automatic gunfire on the edge of town. A top Kenyan HIV scientist and two other people, one on crutches, are killed when teenage gunmen indiscriminately spray vehicles on a highway with AK-47 fire. Baghdad? Mogadishu? No, Nairobi, capital of East Africa's richest economy.
An African Union summit on Tuesday discussed raising thousands more troops for a peacekeeping force in Somalia after defusing a potentially damaging row over Sudan. The force, essential to avoid a dangerous vacuum when Ethiopian troops leave Somalia within weeks, needs 4Â 000 more troops to bring it up to projected strength of almost 8Â 000.
Major oil companies are scrambling for oil off the shores of Madagascar, which has rich mineral reserves and huge quantities of gemstones, including an estimated 70% of the world's sapphires. The former French colony is the world's biggest exporter of vanilla and occupies a strategic position off the volatile African coast, 400km to the west.
Landing in Johannesburg from anywhere else in Africa can be a deeply disorienting experience, no matter how many times you do it. In fact the contrasts are so great, you can end up wondering if you are still in Africa at all. Confusion sets in as soon as you head into town along a network of fine roads that would put London to shame.