POST 3 : from witches to cheetahs

PART I

On the blogpost of this week we have a lot to cover. I’ll start by explaining the meaning of “Cheetah” and a “Big Man”.

            First, according to George Ayittey, a Ghanaian economist, author and president of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington DC, the cheetah generation can be described as a “new generation of young Africans who look at African issues and problems from a totally unique perspective”. Their main difference is that their way of thayitteyinking differs from the “hippo generation” which is seen as people who are stuck in the past and therefore still think about colonialism and imperialism. The cheetah generation is more focused on transparency, accountability, good governance, respect for basic human rights and so on. They really emphasize the fact that they want to move the continent forward. Also, in the seventh chapter of Emerging Africa – How 17 Countries are Leading the Way, Radelet writes that cheetahs are not “defined by gender, age, location of education” giving a chance to many people to be part of it.

                                                                                     Picture : George Ayittey

We usually see the cheetahs in the emerging countries.  Why? Since they want to be hired in good positions or even want to create their own businesses. It’s a hopeful and very motivated generation.

Now, let’s speak about the meaning of a “Big Man”. In the mid-1980s, almost every sub-Saharan African country was ruled by a dictator. People were often too busy working or trying to survive that they didn’t think or had the means to fight for their rights and a democracy. Radelet added that “few countries met standards for democracies in terms of protecting fundamental political freedoms and civil liberties, or in establishing key institutions such as free and fair elections, representative government and checks on executive power”. The “big man” is the person who doesn’t care about his people and their well-being. He cares more about his own power and fortune.

            Finally, both these terms refer to a different way of looking at democracy and civil society. Indeed, the cheetahs are educated enough to know that democracy is the right things and instead of relying on foreign aid or the government they are the ones trying to create the progress for the countries in Africa. On the other side the hippo generation are still “stuck in the past” which prevent them to evolve and do things to improve the standard livings of Africans.

PART II

             Nutrition is the biggest problem of poverty. Today, 9 billion persons die before their fifth birthday because of hunger according to the book Poor Economics from Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo. The most important thing needed to grow and live is food that is why countries try their best to provide their people some food at an affordable price. In India for example, everyone is given 55 pounds of rice a month at a very cheap price. Also, in the Philippines people could eat 2400 calories per day for only 21 cents if they agreed to eat only eggs and bananas. But who could live only eating theses aliments every day?

             We need to rethink food policy to know how much to give to whom and how since a lot of the food given is often lost on the way. This is a big problem where two sides usually oppose – the one where we should give people an amount of food every week and the one where each people has to try to get its own food.

             We can also think of a nutrition as a trap in poverty as we can read Poor Economics from Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo. They write the story of a man who didn’t have a job because he didn’t have the skill to do a particular job and he couldn’t work in construction either since he was too weak to buy food and therefore be strong enough to work. He was 40 years old and desperate.

            Another very sad part that I didn’t know about before reading the book is the witch hunting phenomenon. It started in Europe during the Renaissance and the Middle Ages. Indeed, when times were very hard and the access to food and water too difficult people started to kill “witches”. The witches were often single women, widows, and grandmothers. So when food was scarce family “discovered” that a member of their family was a witch and it would lead this member to be chased of killed by others in the villages. It would prevent families to feed another mouth that couldn’t work and contribute to the family.

saving-africas-witch-children-1024

Picture from : http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/saving-africas-witch-children

PART III

Country exploration : Angola

ango-mmap-md

Angola which is officially named the Republic of Angola is a country in Southern Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa and is bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north. The official language is the Portuguese and there is a population of 25 million people.

As of today, and according to the date of United Nations Development Program the life expectancy is of 52 years old and almost 71% of the population is literate. They have, nowadays, a 3.1% population growth. Today the Human Development Indicators for Angola is 0.532 and it is ranking number 149.

We can find more information on this link :  http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/AGO

sans-titre

 

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