In the beginning of Steven Radelet’s, Emerging Africa, there is a significant focus on the seventeen countries in Africa beginning to make sufficient progress in developing into stabilized countries. Radelet stresses how these countries should not be categorized with the other countries in Africa, as there is usually a negative perception with Africa as a whole. In later chapters six and seven Radelet writes about the technological significance in emerging countries and introduces the “Hippo” and “Cheetah” generations. Radelet emphasizes how important technology is in helping transfer information by encouraging government funds, spreading news bulletins, and finding out important information that wouldn’t be understood without technology. Radelet eventually dives into the two substantially different generations, the “Cheetah’s” and the “Hippo’s”. The Cheetah generation consists of a population of many different Africans committed to energizing their countries and moving ahead in a more positive direction. The Cheetah generation refrains from looking in the past fretting about imperialism, like the “Hippo” generation. Radelet describes the Hippo generation as slow movers who have made very little progress in development. When referring to the Hippo generation, Radelet states, “The old leaders and their styles, ideas, policies, fears, and histories are fading away. They are slowly being replaced by a new generation poised to overcome some of the most trenchant problems of the past and build a new future for Africa” (Radelet, 2010). The Cheetah’s have a completely different perspective when handling democracy and civil society, as they their economic policies are much more people friendly and their democratic governance gives them more opportunity to succeed. When expressing the meaning of the Cheetah generation, Radelet refers to five things that stand out:
- They are bringing fresh ideas to the table in business, government, and civil society.
- They are self-reliant and self-starters
- They are providing new thinking and perspectives on brand new businesses, such as biomass fuel for cleaner and smaller-scale energy in rural areas, and on how to organize old businesses better, including everything from bakeries to breweries.
- They come with ideas and strategies for organizing communities, particularly youth, to provide local services and speak out in political debates.
- They come with ideas and approaches for using the private sector to solve what were once seen as public sector problems, such as supplying clean water and basic health services.
The Cheetah generation is clearly determined to push back against old policies and make a difference in the African countries. The Cheetahs are rapidly making themselves the “new generation of talented leaders in business, government, politics, and civil society. The future is in their hands. And in their hands the future looks bright. (Radelet, 2010).
In Poor Economics, by Abhijit Banerjee, the main concept revolves around the nutrition-based poverty trap issue that many poor people suffer from. The author’s explain how the poor continue to get poorer because they do not have a sufficient amount of food to produce energy, so their work continues to lack. On the other hand, the rich continues to get richer because they can afford the nutrients and energy it takes to make them better at their work, therefore the poverty-trap gap increases. It is a continuous cycle, as the rich get rich and the poor get poorer. While reading, I thought of a certain scenario that is relevant in the schooling system. Many less fortunate students may have more of an issue learning and grasping on to concepts because they are hungry and not receiving the energy they need to do well in school. The same idea applies to the poverty-trap explained in Poor Economics. The author explains how this continuous cycle could end if the poorer received more food and had the energy to do more sufficient work that they are currently unable to do because they are hungry.
However, with that being said, there is another argument made that many people in poverty do not use their money for the proper reasons. Some people in poverty on spending the money they could be using for food on other insignificant items like tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or other meaningless expenses. The authors went on to explain how when some of the impoverished victims do have the money to spend of food, they buy the more unhealthy choice, as they are more focused on the taste rather than the nutritional benefit. Without nutrients, energy is extremely low resulting in less sufficient work. This is a clear issue that needs to be addressed and a policy that must be managed or the gap will continue to increase.
Witch hunting is another topic elaborated on in Poor Economics. The author’s explain how witch-hunting still persists in some communities today. Witch-hunting can be directly linked to the nutritional problem that many people in Africa face. When people cannot find a suffice amount of food, some tend to go to far in their endeavors to obtain food. The idea of it is that people will have more to eat with one less mouth to feed. Therefor, some people result in killing off another person who is less deserving of the food, such as an elderly person or someone who has made a major mistake within their community. Finding a solution to the nutritional issue that persists is easier said than done, but it will have limit many problems occurring across the world, especially with hunting.
I was assigned to reflect on the progress Mali has made in regards to the original SDG’s. According to the World Bank Data, Mali’s GDP has increased immensely since 2000. In 2000, Mali’s GDP was 2.954 billion and as of 2015, Mali’s GDP is 12.747 billion. Putting it into perspective, an increase by 10 billion dollars is a very large increase. The population has also increased from around 11 million to roughly 17 million. In regards to total years, the life expectancy at birth has risen about 10 years now as the average death rate is around 58 years old.
Despite the increase in GDP and life expectancy, it really isn’t too impressive considering there are still more than 800 million people living on less that US$ 1.25 a day. Many of these people struggle to find fresh water, sanitation, and nutritious foods. Despite the struggles that Mali continues to face, the SDG’s still aim to end poverty by 2030. One of the main ways that Mali looks to fix the poverty situation is by use of a community radio, which will help relay information regarding health, sanitation, as well as other meaningful information. Another problem Mali is trying to face with the help of SDG’s is providing more water resources and help with nutritious needs. Drought and climate change is taking a toll on Mali but with the implemented ideas from the SDG, they may be able to overcome these hazards.
Banerjee, A. & Duflo, E. (2011). Poor Economics.
Radelet, S. (2010). Emerging Africa