Monthly Archives: September 2014

Week Four

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A “cheetah” or the “cheetah generation” refers to a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa and other emerging countries. This group of people focuses on replacing the old way that their country was led with innovation and accountability by redefining democracy, transparency, and fostering strong connections with other countries across the world. These people can be men or women, young or old, and are not limited to one geographic region or education level. Women are now more than ever especially able to become involved. The average number of children women give birth to has declined which allows for more independence and the ability to work and provide for themselves. While most of these jobs occur in an urban setting, some “cheetahs” can be found in small villages running locals NGOs that had provided help for them in the past.

One of my favorite quotes that was recently brought to my attention again by Jane Goodall is an ancient Indian proverb that says, “We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children”.  Although this quote refers to the physical Earth and environment, I think it can also be applied to past and future generations within the government. The “hippo” generation is viewed as leaving government and leadership for future generations in poor condition. When you think of a hippo, the first few things that come to mind are big, powerful, and slow. Much like an actual hippo, the hippo generation is a large group of people who had the power to be in control of a country but they are also stuck in the past and are moving slowly towards progress. As with real cheetahs, “cheetahs” in Africa are fast and moving forward to give a new direction for their country. In the video, George Ayittey talks about Africa’s future and how it relates to the “hippo” and “cheetah” generations.

The adage “You have to spend money to make money” is true and very unfortunate for developing countries. Developing and emerging countries need money for sustainable living but because most of them are living in extreme poverty, it is very hard for them to receive the proper funding to help them succeed. Malawi is a great example of this. Malawi is combating the harmful effects that AIDs has had on its population by trying to bring treatment to its people. As Jeffrey Sachs says, “Malawi actually put together one of the earliest and bed conceived strategies for bringing [HIV] treatment to its dying population, and gave an enormously thoughtful response to the challenges of managing a new system of drug delivery, patient counseling and education, community outreach, and the financial flows that would accompany the process of training doctors”. Unfortunately, other governments and donors saw this plan as too ambitious and cut back the plan so much that it was only able to provide enough medication for a fraction of the people who needed it.

AIDS awareness billboard in Malawi

Bangladesh, while higher on Sachs’ ladder than Malawi, still faces problems of its own. Known for its sweatshops and unfavorable working conditions, European and American companies have received a lot of protest for allowing their production to occur in places like sweatshops in Bangladesh. Protestors say that these working conditions, which include working for long hours for minimal pay and having to travel long distances, is not right. However, Sachs says that having these types of jobs might not be the end solution to solving poverty in Bangladesh, they are helping people and especially women become more independent.

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Nigeria and Angola: WEEK FIVE

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The Governor of Nigeria’s Rivers State, Chibuike Totimi Amaechi, I would define as a ‘cheetah’. Nigeria is predicted to surpass South Africa within the next few years as SSA’s largest economy. That is because the country is enriched in oil. According to this Slate.com article, Amaechi has a wide-ranging development agenda. Money has been directed into creating an industrial zone and programs to support the farming industry, and dozens of new schools.

“However, the vast majority of its 175 million people remain poor. Even as the economy expanded by an impressive average of 7.2 percent a year between 2004 and 2010, an additional 43.7 million people fell below the poverty line. The delta’s persistent security problems are a direct reflection of the depths of Nigeria’s inequality.”-Klasa

Amaechi wants to tackle Nigeria’s poverty issue by creating a social security system and to create employment. NGOs are non-existent at least in Rivers State because it is too dangerous, so the government has to tackle the issues themselves, a progressive characteristic of a cheetah.

As for my other country, Angola, its president can be considered a ‘cheetah’. BBC News notes that President Dos Santos has led Angola to recovery after its 27-year civil war in 2002. It also says that he turned the country’s formerly socialist economy into a fast-growing economy. Like Nigeria, Angola is extremely rich in oil. Dos Santos trained in radar technology and oil engineering in the Soviet Union when he was younger. I think that it is promising that a leader of n oil-rich country has actually been trained in dealing with its most profitable natural resource.

From the past few weeks of reading, I have noticed that it is almost impossible to raise a SSA country out of poverty if they don’t have any profitable natural resources. A lot of these places are landlocked (Malawi), or war-torn, or face severe droughts and cannot even produce a sufficient sum of food. Nigeria and Angola are both countries that have improving economies, and that is because they sit on tons of oil.

Another ‘cheetah’ in Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, can be credited toward building Nigeria’s democracy. As I mentioned before, Nigeria’s economy is expected to catch up to South Africa’s soon.

“Africa’s most-populous nation is growing twice as fast as its continental rival, South Africa, and holds nearly as much in foreign reserves, around $50 billion. Nigeria’s GDP may be smaller — $292 billion to South Africa’s $354 billion — but it is expected to catch up soon. The country’s GDP per capita also doubled from $1,400 in 2000 to an estimated $2,800 in 2012.”
Read more: Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala | Provocateurs | OZY

Okonjo-Iweala is Nigeria’s minister of finance and economy. She had a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. in regional economic development from MIT. She spent 12 years at the World Bank (5 as managing director). She convinced the Paris Club to Creditors to cancel $18 billion (60 percent) of Nigeria’s debt, and instead focus on investing Nigeria’s savings on reaching their MDGs. In her TED talk, she urges developed nations to invest in Africa. In 2012 alone, Nigeria earned $85.73 billion in direct foreign investment.

Nigeria is ranking pretty well on being a developing democracy, in a huge part due to its ‘cheetahs.’ Angola, on the other hand, has seen a bit of a slump recently in its progress. The government poorly managed public debt. A drought struck the country last year, which combined with an already weak global economy, slowed down Angola’s GDP growth, which had been growing, in 2013. In 2010, the parliament ruled that direct presidential elections would be abolished, and the leader of the parliament’s largest party would become president, very undemocratic.

Democratic Rankings in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Pictured: By Arturo de Frias Marques (Own work)

Malawi A cheetah in Malawi is Rosemary Laurent. In an article by the Clinton Foundation, Rosemary was used as an example of one of the members of the Takondwa Club. The Takondwa Club is part of a Clinton Development Initiative called the Anchor Farm Project.   The Anchor Farm Project “provides training, fertilizer, and seeds to farmers in Malawi, including more than 11,000 women.” Through clubs such as the Takonwa Club, the members gain a support network to finish projects successfully according to the Clinton Foundation.   Rosemary is mother of six and is active in the club. The Clinton Foundation reported in their article called, Five Stories of Successful Women and Inspiring Mothers that Laurent said,

“Women should not solely rely on their husbands for their livelihood. They should join farmer groups and learn a lot from these groups, access credit facilities and engage in farming business. That way a woman and her family progress faster.”

She is just one cheetah helping her country move towards the protection of women empowerment, reducing poverty and agricultural and economic sustainability.  

Pictured: By Pete Vowles of the DFID

Republic of Congo Because malaria impacts the Republic of Congo so drastically, I decided to read about individuals that have helped the country move forward in the fight against this deadly disease.   On the NetsforLife website, I read about Elize. After spending time and money helped her children who had contracted malaria on multiple occasions, she took it upon herself “by cleaning up standing pools of water and other breeding grounds for the malaria mosquito. She also received an insecticide-treated net to protect her children,” according to NetsforLife.  She is helping her country change the way malaria impacts them. She is taking preventative measures and taking a lead. By doing this, she becomes an example for her family, friends and community and also becomes a monument to the valuable work that women can do. By my understanding of cheetahs, they bring about change to their communities by acts of leadership like this example.

In Chapter 3 of Emerging Africa, the author talks extensively about how democracies are critiqued and ranked. I explored several sites to see how Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranked and found that the Congo was cited as one of the countries that stepped backwards on the scale of emerging democracies. One way they judge the democracies in order is by the amount of competitiveness the elections garnish. A few others are the amount and scale of basic civil liberties in the country, civic institutions that act as watchdogs to the government and the rights to free speech, assembly and press are among the others. Here are a few of my findings:

On the Freedom House website, they judge the democracies by a “rights-based index.” This measures both civil and political rights in the country. After the scores between these rights are averaged, Freedom House comes to a “Freedom Status” that is used to rank the countries by democratic freedom.

  • The Freedom House ranked the Congo “not free,” a 6.0 on a scale from 1-7 (7 = WORST). They gave the country 6 on both the scales for civil liberties and political rights.
    • Some reasons for this ranking:
      • Persecution of journalists and human rights avocates
      • Membership in the transparency initiative, EITI, was suspended
      • Lack of preparation for elections
      • Questionable legitimacy of results
    • The Freedom House ranked Malawi, “partly free” a 3.5 on a scale from 1-7 (7 = WORST). They gave the country 4 on the scale for civil liberties and 3 for political rights.
      • Some reasons for this ranking:
        • Cashgate Scandal in Oct. 2014
        • Crisis in legitimacy of political leader, Banda, as Malawi’s Vice President
        • Intimidating the opposition during registration to vote
        • Media bias towards the government

On the Polity IV Index website, they judge democracies by the institutions that are within the country. This is where they focus on facts and numbers of competitive elections; watchdogs to the government; and length of a term in office are among the factors enabling Polity IV to rank countries.

  • The Polity IV Index ranked the Congo 23/25 on their fragility index
    • Reasons for this ranking:
      • Very low economic effectiveness rating
      • Low political and social effectiveness
      • Low social, political and security legitimacy
      • Average security effectiveness
    • The Polity IV Index ranked Malawi 16/25 on their fragility index
      • Reasons for this ranking:
        • Very low economic effectiveness
        • Low economic and social effectiveness
        • Average political legitimacy and social effectiveness
        • Fairly high security and political legitimacy
        • High security effectiveness

In Chapter 10 of The End of Poverty, Sachs talked about how the Western intervention in Africa’s politics have contributed to the corruption we use as a scapegoat for their economic instability. Sachs says that while corruption doesn’t help economic growth, it isn’t the main cause for the economic turmoil that the continent has seen in the last century.   The author compares the levels of corruption in Africa to countries in Asia and then measures its rate of growth. They are not correlated. Sachs says the three primary challenges for economic development in Africa are: “disease, drought and distance from world markets.”   The distance from world markets impacts the ability to trade and sell goods. On a macro level, the countries did not have the sufficient navigable water ways for trade or the telecommunications to succeed in the global market but on a micro level, the villages did not live in close enough proximity to set up markets and specialize in particular products and agricultural fields.   Disease and drought are two natural causes for economic distraught. Having an infrastructure like a health care system and city water systems are some ways that developed countries fight these economic development obstacles but that countries in Africa did not have access to as Sachs writes in his book.

The End of Poverty

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Delving into Jeffrey Sachs’s book, The End of Poverty, Sachs addresses the major issues he has observed and studied that are hurting developing and emerging countries. All intertwining and making each other problem worse (or at an unfortunate stalemate), Sachs discusses issues of these countries to include disease, hunger and extreme poverty. Disease does a lot of the killing. Malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, diarrhea, respiratory infection and beyond kill people everyday (Sachs, 2006, pg. 1). On top of that, these countries don’t have access to proper drugs or means to prevent such diseases.

Other hurdles plaguing these developing nations also exist that the MLOs try to address, like equality, education and resources. Sachs believes that despite these obstacles, there are still economic opportunities that exist which can bring these emerging countries from their rut.

mmalawi

Sachs uses Malawi as a primary example of one of these struggling developing nations. He cites Carol Bellamy of UNICEF, who “described Malawi’s plight as the perfect storm, a storm that brings together climate disaster, impoverishment, the AIDS pandemic, and the long-standing burdens of malaria, schistosmiasis, and other diseases,” (Sachs, 2006, p.10). A less-than-ideal landlocked location and crops withered away by drought make having a nutritionally balanced diet, or enough of a diet at all, difficult.

AIDS is an epidemic in Malawi. There is a hospital, but there is no treatment program yet in place for the “roughly nine hundred thousand Malawians infected with the HIV virus and currently dying of AIDS.” (Sachs, 2006, pg. 8). The country has arrangements with Cipla, a generic Indian drug producer, but the people of Malawi cannot even afford a dollar out of pocket for the drugs. The Vice President of Malawi, Mulawesi, has led a team of experts to design a national AIDS strategy, a team that has traveled all over the world in order to discuss ideas to fight the disease.

 

Vice President of Malawi

Vice President of Malawi

Contrasting Malawi a bit, Bangladesh has made a bit of economic process because of sweatshop jobs that are present for women. I wouldn’t count horrible working conditions, lack of codes and long, sweaty hours in a factory as a life of luxury, but at least there is some capital gain.

“Some rich-country protesters have argued that Dhaka’s apparel firms should either pay far high wage rates or be closed, but closing such factories as a result of wages forced above worker productivity would be little more than a ticket for these women back to rural misery,” (Sachs, 2006, p.13).

Sachs suggests that these protestors should, instead, support an increased number of jobs but under safer working conditions and with different trade agreements.

Higher up on the ladder, India has been impacted economically by the IT revolution, thus helping the country flourish. Indian IT workers are part of the middle-income world, but a class that wouldn’t be recognized as “middle class” by the standards of rich countries. “ Still, as Malawi, Bangladesh and India demonstrate, technology and jobs can help pull people, and a country, out of extreme poverty.

IT

In Malawi, 84 percent of the population lives in rural areas; in Bangladesh, 76 percent; in India, 72 percent…” (Sachs, 2006, p. 18). So although a portion of the Indian population can work these jobs, most of the population doesn’t work in the nations cities to have this luxury.

 

Emerging Africa

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George Ayittey is a Ghanaian economist and the author of several books on Africa and he coined the term “Cheetah”. He calls the young, educated and angry generation of young African professionals the Cheetah population in this article, and also in chapter 7 of Steven Radelet’s Emerging Africa. Ayittey said that this generation looks at issues, such as those facing African countries, at new and unique perspectives. He thinks they have the power to change the continent.

 “The “Hippo Generation,” intellectually astigmatic and stuck in their muddy colonialist pedagogical patch. They can see with eagle-eyed clarity the injustices perpetrated by whites against blacks, but they are hopelessly blind to the more heinous injustices they perpetrate against their own black people. The Hippos are of the 1960s-era mentality — stodgy, pudgy, and wedded to the old “colonialism-imperialism” paradigm with an abiding faith in the potency of the state.”- Ayittey

In chapter 3, Radelet talks about a “Big Man”, meaning the age of dictators who ruled almost every sub-Saharan African country in the mid-‘80s. The dictator, or “big man” was ruthless and did whatever he wanted, regardless of it benefitted the people of his country or not. Cheetahs want to take initiative in fixing the messes the “big men” have left, while hippos sit and wait for NGOs and foreign aid, even though we can see that methodology hasn’t been very successful.

NGOs and women play a role in the differing perspectives cheetahs and hippos have in looking at democracy and civil society. Ayittey said that he has identified both male and female Cheetahs across Africa, from Ghana to Kenya, Nigeria to Togo, Zambia and Somalia. As mentioned before, Cheetahs see NGOs as a help, but also know they need to also take initiative.

mmalawi

In Malawi, the current GDP is $3.705 billion. In 2014, the GDP is forcasted to change by -16.7%, with almost the same forecast for 2015 with -16.2%.

 “According to the latest MDG Progress Report on Malawi (2012), Malawi has got mixed results in terms of progress in achieving MDGs. Malawi is on course to achieve possibly half of the eight millennium development goals and these are reducing child mortality (MDG 4); combating HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases (MDG 6); ensuring environmental sustainability (MDG 7); and developing global partnership for development (MDG 8).”