Tanner Post 4- Mali’s Cheetah’s and Low-Hanging Fruit

As explained in my previous post, a “cheetah” is a person or organization driven to energize their country and push forward in a more positive, efficient direction. Radelet explains the importance of Cheetahs, as they are dedicated to making a change in the way they develop their nation and are not focusing on the past like the “Hippos” do.

Ironically enough, the organization “Lions in Mali” is a group of Cheetahs focused on quickly managing the poverty issue in Mali and helping the country protect their basic human rights. The “Lions Club” is the world’s largest volunteer service organization as they are making a positive impact on 42 African countries, especially Mali. One of the main things that this Cheetah organization is doing in Mali is drilling nearby wells so everyone has access to nearby, clean water. The “Lions club” is also implementing new schools and showing life skills to villagers. Aside from education, the “lions club” aims to improve the health of Malians as they are working to prevent blindness and increase the care for people with AIDS and diabetes. The “Lions club” can be referred to as cheetahs rather than “Hippos” because they are taking a fast approach to implementing ideas and new tactics to increase the growth of the nation. Although the “lions club” isn’t just focused on Mali, they are working with every country they visit to label the problem and quickly find a solution.

Many villages in Mali are beginning to thrive, as the clean water is preventing death from water-born diseases.


With the increasing effort of the Cheetah generation striving to apply new ideas and tactics, the democracy of Mali is beginning to shift in the right direction. However according to the website, Freedom House, Mali’s freedom status in only partly free.

In January 2015, Moussa Mara and his cabinet were replaced as Boubacar Keita took over. Rebellion has been a major issue in Mali, as many people believe they have little say in the country and see to establish federalism. According to Freedom House, Mara was unable to deal with corruption well and was unwilling to increase the emphasis on peace talks to end the Tuareg led rebellion in the north. With a new leader in office, there was “promise of resolving the conflict, as the new prime minister had been a top government negotiator in the peace talks during 2013” (Freedom House, 2017). Although the new prime minster’s intentions seem good, Mali has still been unable to sufficiently better their democracy, as “insecurity and limited access continued to hinder efforts to provide basic services and ensure respect for the rule of law in northern Mali” (Freedom House, 2017).

With the many struggles that the prime minister and the new cabinet is expected to fix, resolving the issues is taking some time, leaving the democracy ranking still fairly low. According to Freedom House, Mali has an aggregate score of 45/100 with a freedom rating of 4.5/7. Mali also scores a 5/7 in political rights and 4/7 in civil liberties. Although these scores seem low, Mali is on the right track. It is essential that Boubacar (prime minister) and his cabinet seek for more efficient ways to find peace.

While aiming to increase the overall health of the countries in Africa, there are many instances where people are failing to take advantage of the resources they have. In Poor Economics, the authors describe these resources as “low-hanging fruit”. Many people in Africa, especially the struggling countries, are failing to pick the low-hanging fruit and “eat it”, or use it properly. For example, out of the 9 million children who die before they are 5 years old, 1/5 out of them pass away because of diarrhea. This could be prevented if people would make better health investments, such as looking into drugs that “could already save most of these children: chlorine bleach, for purifying water; and salt and sugar, the key ingredients of the rehydration solution ORS” (Benerjee and Duflo, 42).


However, many of these simple and even cheap ways go unnoticed. Too many people are making poor health investments in more expensive medical treatments such as surgeries, which are usually done too late, or antibiotics, which would be unnecessary if they obtained the drugs described previously. Banerjee and Duflo explain how “the issue is not how much the poor spend on health, but what the money is spent on, which is often expensive cures rather than cheap prevention” (Banerjee and Duflo, 51). Lack of education and knowledge is one reason why many are ignoring the simpler, more efficient ways to protect their health. The government is also making it much harder to access the cheaper preventative option, as government is the main player in prevention medicine. With that being said, it is partly on the government to open more access to health care centers and to implement a better health care system that the people trust. Therefor, it is easy to blame both the citizen’s lack of awareness and knowledge as well as the government for the failure to make use of the “low-hanging fruit”.

Despite the struggle of taking advantage of their resources, many people could make a fast change in their life by focusing on better health investments, such as distributing bed nets to prevent mosquitos nearby at night. Spending a large chunk of money on malaria to be terminated would not only save the lives of many, but the “financial return to investing in malaria prevention can be fantastically high” (Banerjee and Duflo, 45). Investing in cleaner water and better sanitation is another health investment that would have very positive benefits. For example, many people who don’t have malaria or a certain disease have to share showers and other sanitation supplies with people who are infecting. Investing in healthier, safer sanitation systems would result in more healthy people and an eventual decrease on money spent of health.

There are many other clever health investments, such as deworming drugs, Vitamin B pills, etc. that will provide better, more efficient health outcomes. It is important that knowledge of these investments is spread and acted on properly.


“Mali.” Freedom House. Freedom in the World, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

“Clean Water: Making a World of Difference in Mali.” The Lions Blog. Action Against Hunger, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

Banerjee, A. & Duflo, E. (2011). Poor Economics. Print.


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