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Post 3: The Importance of Democracy to Growth

Part 1:

1. Explain the meaning of a “Cheetah” and a “Big Man” also called the cheetah generation and the hippo generation? (Ch. 7 and 3 from last week’s reading) Explain how these terms refer to a different way of looking at democracy and civil society?

The terms “cheetah” and “big man/hippo” refer to specific generations of Africans. The cheetah generation is the emerging African who wants to see change and are making the moves needed for change to happen. They are leaders who are pushing for better opportunities for their generation and the generations to follow. They are focused on “transparency, accountability, good governance, respect for basic human rights, and private sector economic opportunities.” (EMERGING AFRICA) The big man generation, also referred to as the “hippo”, is a generation stuck in the past. They are constantly complaining about governance and colonialism, along with their countries’ power. The generational differences are part of the styles that are allowing for growth of the economies and civil societies in certain countries. The cheetah coming in to replace the hippo has allowed for the ideas to change. The governmental figures of democracy are allowing for the country to move forward from what it had historically done to accomplish new goals and grow through the new experiences they are bringing to the table. These two terms (cheetah and big man) show the generational differences that have both helped and harmed Africa in terms of democracy and civil society. 

2. Is Radelet’s positive view in Chapter 6 on the African ICT explosion valid and sustainable? What are the challenges?

The positive views found in Chapter 6 on the African ICT explosion seem incredibly valid. In terms of the growth seen just though access to communication channels is easily a positive aspect to spot. It creates a major opportunity for businesses to prosper which will in turn create growth all around. With access to a whole world of information, it has changed the way those in remote villages live. The technological advances have promoted not only more opportunities all around, but also have improved the quality of life through better governance, medicine, agriculture, and so much more. The challenges of relying on ICT are the factors that there are still so many places who have zero access and creating access for them is so difficult due to lack of resources such as energy, investors, and education. With places that have little hope for access to basic resources, it’s difficult to implement the technology needed to benefit them economically and socially. Africa lacks the skilled manpower needed to implement this technology. Alongside this, cyber crimes have the potential to target areas with less knowledge of how the internet truly works, along with hacking of phone lines which could cause risks in terms of privacy, safety, and business to business dealings. 

3. You read quite a bit by now about Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). You will further analyze your assigned/chosen country this week relying on what you have read so far and finding more information.

a) Find a ‘cheetah’ (person or organization) in your assigned country and show his/her/its work that helps the country move towards protection of human rights, free speech, systems of accountability, reducing poverty, etc.

A cheetah for Ghana was Kwame Nkrumah. Under him, Ghana was the “first black nation in sub-Saharan Africa to win independence”. Because of what he did, many others made the leap from the British colonial rule and gained independence as well. With the newfound freedom, Ghana was able to move forward in growing, gaining knowledge, protecting its citizens, reducing poverty, and much more. Nkrumah was trying to convince his citizens not to seek jobs in Europe any longer, but instead feed their own economy.

a) Chapter 3 of Radelet’s Emerging Africa talks extensively about democracy building as well as discusses how one defines democracy, what is elemental and how are democracies ranked and judged. How does your country rank? Explore the following sites.

A democracy can be defined in many different ways but overall, its a government system which allows those who are eligible to vote to make elected decisions of representatives. Within democracy, protection of basic civil rights. Without this, democracy would merely be present or useful. There has to be an ability to ensure that all is fair and equal for those who vote. These democracies are ranked using Freedom House and Polity IV standards. Ghana ranks 1.5/7 for its freedom rating, 1/7 for political rights, and 2/7 for its civil rights. This is fairly great in comparison to the other 17 countries that are considered democracies.

Part II:  Choose one of the three questions below associated with Poor Economics by Banerjee & Duflo. The problems associated with poverty are complex.

a) What are major obstacles in raising developing countries out of poverty? Ch 6

When it comes to raising developing countries out of poverty, the amount of obstacles can sometimes seem to be never ending. Large growing populations take a huge detriment to the growth of a poor country as the more people there, the fewer job offerings one may be able to find. Along with this, health and hygiene because an issue as the close proximities allow for disease and lack of resources to become more widespread among groups of people. Alongside this, when there is a lack of educational resources, it is difficult to overcome obstacles such as medical care, skilled labor, and electable officials to change the cycle. Another huge obstacle is the lack of capital investment. Without investors, the likelihood of that specific country to grow is not great. You can’t really make money without having money first when it comes to entire countries of poverty stricken people. Many of the countries suffering are also landlocked which makes for difficult and expensive imports and exports as well. Because of this, creating jobs can be hard as many times manufacturers seek elsewhere for an easier transportation of their goods. The technology needed to better help grow the country is not yet available to them as most often it is too expensive or they lack the resources needed to obtain them.


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