Week 4: Cheetah Generation

The “Cheetah” generation is a term used by the author of “Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries are Leading the Way”, Steven Radelet, to describe the next intellectual generation throughout Africa. But this new generation is diverging from the traditional ideas and attitudes of established anti-imperialists. They are college graduates with new ideas for social and economic reforms throughout the continent. However, like perhaps a traditional intellectual generation, these luminaries are emerging in many different countries in Africa. Their goals are to establish transparent governments that can respond effectively to modern markets and growing demand for civil and economic reforms. Radelet also describes their autocratic, anti-colonialists predecessors some of whom remain in power, are called the “hippo” generation.

The two differ greatly as the “hippos” have put effort into propping up inefficient government systems. They are unreceptive to new concepts and technologies. While “cheetahs” are centered on good governance, with legal protections and modern civic attitudes.

NGOs have played a part in the development of this “cheetah” generation. They have found and supported several of these cheetahs, while some have hired them. However, they, for the majority, keep a respectable distance away because the cheetahs no longer require the intervention of the NGOs to effect change. This is due to the proliferation of modern mobile phone technology and other modern facets which have allowed this generation’s communication network to grow ad infinitum.

While perhaps being considered hapless victims by some in the Western World, African women have contributed immensely to the development, and many are a part of the cheetahs. One such member, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho was a pediatrician in France before she headed to Africa. She was appalled by some of the conditions in Rwanda. “Luckily for countless Rwandans, Binagwaho did not leave. For the past 14years, she has led Rwanda’s battle against HIV/AIDS, first as the executive secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against HIV/AIDS, and now as he permanent secretary for the Ministry of health. She has helped develop the standard of care for the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients, in Rwanada, improve access to care for communities, and develop the overall national strategy to fight the disease.” (Emerging Africa, 128-129)

  1. According to Jeffrey Sachs in “The End of Poverty”, there are a multitude of issues which reside within these developing nations that hinder growth. Seemingly, one of these issues arises in every facet of aid. Aid can be less effective because of failed implementation. This could be due to a lack of educated individuals who would be capable of utilizing the aid provided most effectively. Another could be a dearth of technology, legal expertise, or financial information which would allow Africans to take advantage of favorable economic conditions in their markets. All of these factors contribute to some of the nations’ lack of growth.
  2. Sachs then proposes a framework for identifying the symptoms of poverty, and how best to collect the information so that it utilized correctly. For instance, in Malawi, primary school enrollment is up to 141% (can exceed 100% due to over and under-aged students and grade repetition), life expectancy is 55 years old, and 83% of the rural population has access to water. While in the Republic of the Congo, primary school enrollment is 109% (only marginally better than all of Sub-Saharan Africa), life expectancy is 58 years old, and only 39% of the rural population has access to water. Malawi’s educational efforts seem to be paying off, while the Republic of the Congo could focus on improving rural access to improved water systems.

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