The Cheetah Generation, the Hippo Generation, and the Major Issues Affecting Developing Countries

Part 1

  1. In modern Africa, the meaning of a “Cheetah” and a “Big Man” are opposite reflections of each other. “Cheetahs” are people who are striving to move Africa forward through the channels of economics, politics, social change, and a variety of other routes to help push the country towards a newer, unique, more individual future. Much of the cheetah generation grew up in a time of unrest in many countries, and now combine their experiences with knowledge, energy, or ideas to reinforce change. Many members of the cheetah generation are now manifesting their talents in government and leadership positions. There are few gender biases, so a main difference is the fact that one are a major participatory party. In contrast, a “Big Man” is a name for a dictator, and members of the hippo generation are those stuck in this mentality, seeing the need for change but taking no action. This generation is accustomed to being silenced, to following orders, and being ruled by corrupt governments and dictators, and yet they take no action to make change.

2.The cheetah generation is cut from a different cloth than the hippo generation—and the diversity of it proves that. The hippo generation sees old Africa, a place where many countries are still constricted by conflict and corrupt political practices. The cheetah generation is taking a different approach, and that is most importantly reflected by the fact that they are becoming the change. For those who have leadership capabilities, they are taking positions within their governments and larger-scale organizations to push improvements. For those who are working on a smaller scale, they work within civil society with what they have, whether it is new planting technology, or setting up community resources, or whatever they can to affect the area they are in the most. The cheetahs are also creating a sense of responsibility and demand honesty from their governments.

3. NGOs play a role in the moving Africa toward a better future. Many organizations are utilizing members of the upcoming cheetah generation as resources, for better tailoring their aid and assistance to the needs that they are meant to fulfill. Other groups focus on holding the government responsible for its actions, the upkeep of human rights, and spreading awareness

4. Women play a large role in the cheetah generation. There are some women, such as Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, who left her established life to fight HIV/AIDS. Then there are others, such as Tererai Trent, who came from within her home country of Zimbabwe to both educate herself and affect change with her knowledge. While other women may not have her exact experience, her example speaks to what it possible for other women.

Part 2

a. Major issues affecting developing emerging countries include lack of resources, difficult climates to grow food in, an unprofitable trade relationship with developed countries, and many other issues that can stem from the location of a country. National governments can also be a source of issue as well, whether that be from corrupt practices, lacking proper leadership, or being unable to provide/funnel revenue into the right areas. Cultural barriers affect equality in the home and the ability to live in certain areas free from prejudice or concern of harm. Often times the cycle of poverty is difficult to break because families need every hand and every crop grown, and cannot invest in whatever means might help them, whether that be health care, or education, or a crop that might turn a higher profit.

b. Sachs proposes a diagnostic checklist that consists of seven main points: analyzing the poverty trap, economic policy framework, fiscal framework and trap, physical geography, governance patterns and failures, cultural barriers, and geopolitics of each nations.

Physical Geography

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country of over 16 million people, and in the Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic for Burkina Faso, states that 2/3 of the roads are in good condition as of 2011. However, it also states that power/electricity is needed in increasing demand as well. While the country focuses on cotton as its main growing crop, it also produces some substinence crops. An increase in the dry season now also leads to concerns that the growing season will be cut short by changing conditions.

Cultural Barriers

A report made by the United Nations after meeting with representatives from Burkina Faso in 2013 identifies not only several racial minorities there, but also the need to incorporate laws against racial discrimination. As of last year, refugees were also coming from Mali, but structures were put in place to support these changes. A very specific problem also occurring there is “witch hunts”, used effectively against widowed women, those identified as unusual, and even women seen as a burden to the community. A specific need to fight against this with human rights efforts was also identified by representatives.


Over the past few years, Burkina Faso has struggled with a large migration of refugees fleeing conflict from the neighboring country of Mali. The country has worked towards a supportive solution to facilitate this movement.

Millennium Development Goals

In Burkina Faso is still has some distance to cross when it comes to the Millennium Development Goals.  Eradicating poverty is an ongoing process for the low-income country (MDG #1). Their primary school enrollment is still very much below the average of Sub-Saharan Africa, having stagnated a bit in the past few years (MDG #2). Since 2010, the number of women receiving pre-natal care has increased to 95%, and the life expectancy of newborns had steadily increased with the mortality rate significantly decreasing (MDG #3, 4, 5).  Less than 10% of the population is fighting HIV/AIDS, and although this is a sight increase from 8% over the past few years (MDG #6). Burkina Faso has held at a median level of environmental stability, neither increasing now decreasing. However, this number is on the borderline, and could rise or sink at any time (MDG #7).


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