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Current Awareness 2021: May

Up-to-date topics of interest to researchers

What is current awareness?

Current awareness is the term used to describe staying informed by keeping up to date with the latest publications, research and news in your field.

The perspective of current awareness is the present and the forthcoming, as opposed to the retrospective. 

Current awareness ranges from looking for information on specific topics on a regular basis (and this usually involves the assistance of your Personal Librarian to help you set up a search profile matched to your research interests) to embracing a wider, more general, and cross-disciplinary view that brings an element of serendipity into your search for the latest information.

Informally, researchers remain alert in all contexts for useful information and insights that will inform their daily practice, their research, and spark off innovative and creative ideas for new avenues of research

Websites of the month

African Union

About the African Union

The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).


In May 1963, 32 Heads of independent African States met in Addis Ababa Ethiopia to sign the Charter creating Africa’s first post-independence continental institution, The Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The OAU was the manifestation of the pan-African vision for an Africa that was united, free and in control of its own destiny and this was solemnised in the OAU Charter in which the founding fathers recognised that freedom, equality, justice and dignity were essential objectives for the achievement of the legitimate aspirations of the African peoples and that there was a need to promote understanding among Africa’s peoples and foster cooperation among African states in response to the aspirations of Africans for brother-hood and solidarity, in a larger unity transcending ethnic and national Differences. The guiding philosophy was that of Pan-Africanism which centred on African socialism and promoted African unity, the communal characteristic and practices of African communities, and a drive to embrace Africa’s culture and common heritage

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Member States

The AU is made up of 55 Member States which represent all the countries on the African continent. AU Member States are divided into five geographic regions. which were defined by the OAU in 1976 (CM/Res.464QCXVI).

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Energy Sector – South Africa

Electricity Sector

The South African electricity sector is dominated by the national utility Eskom, which is responsible for the majority of generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. South Africa is however also home to Africa’s biggest IPPs market, which is envisioned to contribute 30% of South Africa’s future generation capacity. 137 municipal power companies, that are buying 40% of electricity generated by Eskom to supply end users, hold negligible generation capacity. Generation is currently dominated by coal power, however this dominance is expected to decline in anticipation of increased investments in gas, renewables, and nuclear power. Being an integral part of the South African Power Pool (SAPP), South Africa is both importing and exporting power from and to its neighboring countries. The electrification rate in South Africa is comparatively very high for the region, standing between 85 and 90%.

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Further reading

About the monthly current awareness page

The year is marked with many special days, weeks, and months dedicated and devoted to raising awareness about important issues.

This monthly post, compiled by the Information Search Librarians Team, will note special dates and themes, and draw your attention to possibly interesting cross-disciplinary topical references intended to inform and to inspire ideas for research.

Selected noteworthy days in May

Africa Month 2021

The theme for African Month, 2021 is: "Silencing The Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa's Development and Intensifying the Fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic". Water security is central in any development, in managing human disasters, hunger, diseases, etc.

01 - 31 May Energy Month 2021 South Africa

01 May   Workers Day

03 May World Press Freedom Day

world press freedom day

2021 Theme: Information as a Public Good

This year’s World Press Freedom Day theme “Information as a Public Good” serves as a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good, and exploring what can be done in the production, distribution and reception of content to strengthen journalism, and to advance transparency and empowerment while leaving no one behind. The theme is of urgent relevance to all countries across the world. It recognizes the changing communications system that is impacting on our health, our human rights, democracies and sustainable development.

15 May International Day of Families

2021 Theme: Families and New Technologies

Following up on the theme of the 59th session of the Commission for Social Development: “Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all” the 2021 observance of the International Day of Families focuses on the impacts of new technologies on the well-being of families.

Megatrends, including new technologies, demographic shifts, rapid urbanization, and migration trends, as well as climate change, have been dramatically shaping our world.

16 May International Day of Living Together in Peace

Living together in peace is all about accepting differences and having the ability to listen to, recognize, respect and appreciate others, as well as living in a peaceful and united way.

The UN General-Assembly, in its resolution 72/130, declared 16 May the International Day of Living Together in Peace, as a means of regularly mobilizing the efforts of the international community to promote peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity. The Day aims to uphold the desire to live and act together, united in differences and diversity, in order to build a sustainable world of peace, solidarity and harmony.

The Day invites countries to further promote reconciliation to help to ensure peace and sustainable development, including by working with communities, faith leaders and other relevant actors, through reconciliatory measures and acts of service and by encouraging forgiveness and compassion among individuals.

16 May International Day of Light

17 - 23 May 6th UN Global Road Safety Week

17 May World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

The theme “Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” highlights the ICT advances for transition to smart and sustainable development. It will focus on specific ICT-enabled solutions and emerging trends for fostering economic, environmental and social sustainability.

21 May World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

22 May International Day for Biological Diversity

25-31 May International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories

25 May Africa Day

happy africa day

This year’s celebrations will happen virtually and online due to the massive impact of COVID-19 on the continent and the world under the theme: SilencingTheGuns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development and Intensifying the Fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic.

31 May World No-Tobacco Day

30 May to 6 June Child Protection Week 2021

In the media

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Should you wish to read Current Awareness guides of previous years, please visit the archive:






Looking for upcoming conferences?

If you are looking for forthcoming conferences, the following websites are helpful:

Golden oldies

A skills measurement model for the South African energy sector : applying the analytic hierarchy process to the South African electric power industry

Authors: M. Meyer & B.P. Sunjka

Published Online:1 Nov 2019


The need to understand the skills value inherent in a project in the South African electrical power sector lies at the core of addressing various skills-related challenges in this sector; and this can hamper the effective implementation of projects. In this study, a model was developed, based on the analytic hierarchy process (AHP), in which three different power generating projects were compared for their skills values at the feasibility stage. A hierarchy was developed, based on identified criteria and sub-criteria. This model was applied by various specialists in an industry-based scenario, where three different types of power generating projects (coal-fired power, nuclear power, and wind power) were compared for their skills values, with the goal of identifying the project that had the highest skills value. This process was conducted through individual guided survey questionnaires with each participant, together with tests, to determine the consensus of the participants. A sensitivity analysis determined that the validity and accuracy of the final result were acceptable. Coal-fired power generation projects were adjudicated as having the highest skills value, followed by nuclear, and then solar.


Analysing the diffusion and adoption of renewable energy technologies in Africa: The functions of innovation systems perspective

Author: Aschalew Demeke Tigabu

Source: African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and DevelopmentVol. 10, No. 5, pp 615-62401 November 2018


Renewable energy technologies have increasingly been promoted to address energy poverty and environmental sustainability challenges in Africa. Yet, their diffusion and uptake remain marginal. The focus of renewable energy technology diffusion research in Africa has largely been on identifying technological, economical and social factors, which determine adoption decision of end-users. In this paper, I argue that there is a need to systematically understand the enabling institutional context of renewable energy technologies as well. I argue that the Technological Innovation System (TIS) is a useful approach in this regard. In terms of policy, I argue that strengthening the functional build-up of TISs is crucial to increase the diffusion of renewable energy technologies in Africa. This requires gaining insights into the functioning of TISs. To this end, I provide a simplified framework for evaluating the functional performance of renewable energy TISs in Africa.


Resolving the energy-growth nexus in South Africa

Authors: Sehludi Brian Molele & Thobeka Ncanywa

Source: Journal of Economic and Financial SciencesVol. 11, No. 1, pp 1-801 July 2018


Energy use is a pivotal element in the economic life of any country, especially in a developing economy such as South Africa. Based on trends such as load-shedding and oil supply shocks, it is essential to investigate the relationship between electricity and oil consumption to economic growth. This is particularly relevant in the South African context, where policymakers have had to grapple with excess demand for electricity. The Johansen cointegration and vector error correction model approaches have been used to examine a short- and longrun relationship between energy consumption and economic growth. It has been found that electricity consumption has a negative relationship with economic growth and oil consumption has a positive relationship. Therefore, conservation policies like electricity rationing may be implemented, thereby proving to be beneficial to the broader economy. To offset periodical effects such as oil supply shocks, the country should keep high or adequate amounts of oil reserves and/or invest in oil exploration. It is highly recommended, regarding electricity, that the government is to adopt policy measures and direct interventions to promote an efficient use of electricity.