Week #5 Liberia & Namibia Emerging Democracy’s

a)   In Africa the emergence of a “cheetah” generation has created a new hope for the continent. With this new generation the ability of nations to see a future where they will finally rise above poverty is attainable. With this new group of educated and innovative thinkers new policies are being put into place and ideas about running their countries are coming to fruition. In Liberia one such “Cheetah” is Robtel Pailey who “was recognized as one of the world’s 99 most influential foreign policy leaders under the age of 33. The distinction, awarded by the US-based Diplomatic Courier newspaper and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy network, acknowledges the determination of young people to confront today’s global challenges”(MO Ibrahim Foundation). Having young educated people such as Robtel at the forefront of change in nations such as Liberia is a positive sign for lasting change in these nations. She in particular has worked with the Liberian government of foreign policy issues that have helped her nation in relationships with other countries. By being involved with the government especially with foreign policy she can project a new confidence to the world about the Liberian nations ability to thwart corruption and mismanagement when she and others like her are in power positions, since she was educated abroad at prestigious institutions such as Oxford. She has also been activate during the Ebola outbreak calling for accountability with the spending of over nearly 5 million dollars in aid to help contain the outbreak. With her activism accountability of the nation is being heralded on a much larger scale than would be possible without her and other “cheetahs” like her.

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b)  In Namibia Monica Kalondo can be seen as a “cheetah” striving for the betterment of her nation. With most of her influence in the business landscape of the nation she has been striving for improvement of the economy while strengthening the businesses she has worked for making the nation rise from poverty. “She studied television production and engineering in Germany, and went on to study public relations through PRISA. Proving that it is never too late to study, this titan is currently studying project management at the University of Namibia.”(Observer 24) shows she is both educated and still desire to learn more, a good quality to have when trying to advance a country such as Namibia. One of her main goals through so much of her business savvy is to make the next generation of woman have it easier and more ample opportunities than any generation before her. Her actions directly impact the lives of those worst of by improving businesses she has worked for she has lowered jobless rate by growing business. She has also advocated for better educational structures in the country because being an educated woman herself she knows first hand the value of education to uplift not only individuals but also the nation of Namibia.

1.)  Raising Sub Saharan Africa out of poverty will not be an easily accomplished goal as many problems have plagued the region form development. For much of its history it has been used by imperial powers for not much more than mineral extraction at the cost of the development of these nations. This has pushed them back in time, as they were not able to develop being used in this way. This was exacerbated even after the colonial powers left because the governments put in place after did little more than raise the select few with influence in the country to power and wealth while hurting the majority. This new governments and many people also resented their rulers past atrocities and spend more time complaining about the past, trying to get retribution than trying to truly advance their nation past poverty. The new “cheetah” generation has helped change this in many nations as they want to push aside the past and look towards a future of development and prosperity making the hard choices they must to truly advance the region. Another problem facing SSA is even when one nation is having advances out of poverty the whole region has “the perception, held by both domestic and foreign investors, that the risk-adjusted rate of return on capital is low. Three major sources of risk appear to be particularly relevant: macroeconomic instability; inadequate legal systems”(IMF) making development hard even in deserving nations. If investors don’t think the region is sound for investment it hurts all parties. When we lump in a region so vast as all being the same it is easy to come to unfounded conclusions. To combat this I think avoiding using terms such as Sub Saharan Africa and focusing on individual countries successes and failures will allow investors a better understanding of the landscape and allow for informed investment and development choices to be made.

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2.)   SSA countries have been trying to achieve levels of democracy to have stable governments in place to stop corruption and have far reaching social freedoms that more oppressive governments prevent. Namibia is a nation that has made strides towards becoming a respected democracy with changes to its constitution limiting the terms of presidents. This has been a problem of African countries having a ruler who comes to power with grandiose visions but once they are in power they never want to leave hampering the true validity of their democracies. According to Freedom House, which ranks the level of freedom and effectiveness of government democracies, rates Namibia very well giving them a rating of Free. It also gives their civil liberties and political rights a 2-7(1=best,7=worst) showing some room for improvement but over all in the right direction. Namibia also has a bicameral legislature showing division of government power vital to a strong democracy. Issues with to much power concentrated in one area of government have been avoided. While Liberia has had more issues with democracy and freedom only having a partly Free rating according to freedom house, with a 4 in civil liberties and 3 in political rights. They have room to improve to be considered a more successful democracy. They are listed as a democracy on the Polity 4 project because they have some institutions in place that resemble a democracy but lack the full freedoms afforded by a full democracy because of policies and corruption in the country. Also in Liberia the power is more centrally located than in Namibia, which makes the democracy weak because power not distributed evenly. Looking at these two countries we can see that challenges and successes of one democracy do not always mean they are being implemented across the continent making research of individual countries vital to understanding a region such as Sub Saharan Africa in a clear lens.

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