Emerging Africa




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.


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).”




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