Part I: Cheetahs and Hippos
1. According to author Steven Radelet in his book Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries are Leading the Way, “cheetahs,” or those belonging to the “cheetah generation,” are the young Africans who aim to redefine their countries through “democracy, transparency, a dynamic private sector, and by fostering strong connections with each other and with the rest of the world” (Radelet, 126). As opposed to using corruption and force, these future leaders strive for governmental, institutional, and community improvement through innovation, wisdom, and hard work. In contrast, the so-called “hippo generation” primarily consists of “slow-moving” postcolonial nationalist presidents whom cannot overcome the past filled with Western imperialism.
2. In terms of democracy and civil society, the two generations differ markedly. The hippos, for example, consolidated power and implanted associates in government offices creating unproductive, inefficient action. To them, allowing a civil society full of empowered voters threatened their comfortable reign, thus democracy was stagnant- even nonexistent. Conversely, the upcoming cheetahs are dedicated to ethics, transparency, honesty, and accountability- all of which constitute good government. Their goal is to advance and enrich their entire country, not benefit personally. This includes implementing more democratic processes to encourage a more active civil society whose voice reflects the wishes of the people.
3. Local NGOs across African countries have helped identify, address, and even improve specific issues unique to a particular region or nation. They promote and finance grassroots initiatives that improve health, literacy, environmental sustainability, and several other vital issues. A Kenyan man by the name of John Githongo, for instance, founded and ran his nation’s chapter of Transparency International, promoting governmental honesty and accountability.
4. Numerous women have definitely played a role as cheetahs around the continent of Africa. For example, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho of Rwanda returned to her home country after being educated as a pediatrician in Belgium and France. Despite the hardships, countless deaths, and lack of resources during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, she stood firm in her commitment to her people. For fourteen years she has been at the forefront of this battle and in the process has “helped the standard of care for the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients…, improve access to care for communities, and develop the overall national strategy to fight the disease” (Radelet, 128-129). The results of her and countless others’ leadership and dedication have been striking: the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate has dropped to under three percent, annual deaths has fallen by seventy percent, and the amount of people living HIV/AIDS decreased by one-third.
Additionally, a Kenyan women Wangari Maathai has been dubbed “a great leader in the spirit of the cheetah generation long before most of the new generation as even born” (Radelet, 131). Because of her advocacy of democracy and environmental ethics, which criticized Daniel Arap Moi’s government, Maathai was actually incarcerated, albeit briefly, a few times. From her efforts, tangible progress emerged, and she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. As Radelet praises her declaring, “[She] is proof of the changes that can come from one woman’s energy, ideas, and determination” (132).
Part II: Issues Plaguing Emerging Countries
1. An array of troubles beset the developing nations of Africa. One, from which many other difficulties stem, includes an unstable government. The hippo generation rose to power by overthrowing colonial governments and through connections and force, thus it has often failed to successfully and equitably govern their own countries. With this instability comes inefficiency and corruption, which, in turn, hinders essential infrastructural developments. Additionally, many developing nations rely on substantive farming or cash crops, which increases economic dependency and can degrade the environment. This region’s tropical climate also contributes to its high rate of deadly, communicable diseases, such as malaria. Many other difficulties add to the strain emerging countries face.
2. In his book, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities of Our Time, world-renowned economist Jeffery Sachs proposes a diagnostic checklist that aims to identity the core problems hampering developing nations and, ultimately, lead to an appropriate improvement strategy. Broadly, this checklist includes 1. Poverty Trap 2. Economic Policy Framework 3. Fiscal Framework and Fiscal Trap 4. Physical Geography 5. Governance Patterns and Failures 6. Cultural Barriers 7. Geopolitics.
Part III: Progress on Millennium Development Goals in Zimbabwe
According to the 2012 Millennium Development Goals Progress Report, Zimbabwe has had mixed success in attaining the MDGs. Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger, for example, the country’s GDP growth from -5.7% to 9.3% has not translated to an increase in employment, and, consequently, poverty remains high: approximately 72% of Zimbabweans are considered poor. Additionally, while the amount of underweight children dropped from 11.8% to 10%, the small progress is likely to be uprooted by a projected increase of food-insecure households.
Zimbabwe’s net enrollment ratios for primary schools remain high and completion rates have risen over the years. Additionally, literacy rates have improved to 99% among 15-24 year olds.
With the promotion of gender equality, Zimbabwe has achieved equal enrollment, attendance, and completion rates for girls and boys within primary and secondary schools and parity in literacy rates. The nation must continue to improve on female education at the tertiary level, and increase the number of women active in leading, decision-making sectors, such as management and government.
Despite Zimbabwe’s headway in reducing child mortality (from 65 deaths to 57 deaths per 1,000 live births) this progress is too slow to meet the MDG target. The high cost of treatment and lack of potable water and improved sanitation remain major obstacles to combating the preventable causes of child mortality.
Maternal mortality in Zimbabwe has increased from 612 deaths to 960 deaths per 100,000 live births. Often, unaffordable maternity fees, not having a skilled birthing attendant, and restricted access to antenatal clinics contribute to this unfortunate rise.
Zimbabwe has made great progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS by dropping incidence rates by 49%. Additionally, the rate of new malaria cases has declined by 64% and reported cases of tuberculosis have decreased from 782 to 633 per 100,000.
Environmental sustainability in Zimbabwe has been variable. For instance, the nation has effectively phased out ozone-depleting substances and minimized CO2 emissions. However, deforestation remains a major issue and at least three endangered species need protection.
Finally, Zimbabwe has made tangible gains in telecommunications and steadying international relationships. On the other hand, the country still relies largely on donor aid and support.