More people lived in urban than rural areas for the first time ever in 2007. This year it is estimated that 54 per cent of the world’s population live in cities and by 2050 it is predicted to hit 66 per cent, a mirror image of the two-thirds living in rural areas at the mid-point of the twentieth century. This is expected to come about as development fuels mass internal migration in Africa and Asia. The UN makes no effort to standardise individual countries definitions of urban: population numbers, density and the proportion not working in agriculture and other are all used by different statistical offices.

The current Ebola virus outbreak has claimed more than 4,000 lives in West Africa, as well as one in the US where the victim had been visiting Liberia, the country with the highest death toll so far.

Our interactive graphic tracks the outbreak’s spread since the World Health Organisation first issued a global alert in March 2014

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by Gavin Jackson and Keith Fray

On Tuesday the International Monetary Fund released its latest World Economic Outlook. A striking new finding emerges: the seven largest emerging markets are now bigger, in gross domestic product terms, than the long established G7 group of industrialised nations, when measured at purchasing power parity (PPP). Read more

By Tom Burgis, Caroline Nevitt, and Martin Stabe

Chinese investment in postwar Angola set the template for major infrastructure deals in Africa over the past decade. FT’s Tom Burgis explains Beijing’s quest for a continent’s resources. Read more

Interactive map by Jennifer Bissell

The interactive map below, based on data from International Rivers, shows the 24 dam projects in Africa that involve either Chinese sources of finance or Chinese developers or construction firms.

Base map design: Mapbox, Base map data: OpenStreetMap contributors

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Under a remote mountainside in Guinea, one of west Africa’s poorest but most mineral-rich nations, lies one of the world’s biggest undeveloped deposits of iron ore.

Developing the Simandou deposit and building the railway and port required to export the ore are expected to cost an estimated $20bn – three times Guinea’s gross domestic product. Read more

by Andrew Jack

From trade embargoes to arms blockades, sanctions have long been an extension of conflict by non-military means. Since the start of the twenty-first century, there has been growing use of “targeted” sanctions that draw on intelligence to pinpoint individuals for travel bans or asset freezes. The United Nations, the European Union and the US have announced a wide series of measures, while other organisations including the African Union and individual countries have also issued them with varying degrees of success.

There is fierce debate about the effectiveness of sanctions, with at least two organisations seeking to assess their mixed impact. Our interactive graphic draws on the global analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Targeted Sanctions Consortium, based in Switzerland. Read more

Kate Allen

Angela Merkel has been making much of Germany’s predominant role in the EU’s trade relationship with China – the oft-touted ‘special relationship’. The EU overtook Japan as China’s main source of imports back in 2011, and Germany is the biggest contributor to that. But Europe’s elevated status is not due to its own export growth; rather, it is due to Japan’s continuing performance slide.

Chinese imports

Source: IMF/Haver Analytics

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