Emerging Africa- How 17 Countries are Leading the Way mostly discusses the countries in Africa that have endured “ dramatic economic and political changes since 1995.” Authors Radelet and Sirleaf observe a positive growth in these countries, what they refer to as “fundamental changes”— which are:
- Stronger economic policies
- Rise of a democracy and accountable governments
- End of the debt crisis
- Strengthening of relationships with international communities
- Introduction of cell phones & more technology
- Emergence of public and private leaders (the most emphasized)
In Fred Swaniker’s Ted Talk: “the leaders who ruined Africa and the generation who can fix it,” is important to recognize because he says:
“In Africa, more than anywhere else in the world, the difference that just one good leader can make is much greater than anywhere else, and here’s why. It’s because in Africa, we have weak institutions, like the judiciary, the constitution, civil society and so forth. So here’s a general rule of thumb that I believe in: When societies have strong institutions, the difference that one good leader can make is limited, but when you have weak institutions, then just one good leader can make or break that country.”
Swaniker talks about the new generation, the new group of emerging leaders, and how vital they are to the success or failure of the future of Africa.
When discussing the new generation in his Ted Talk, George Ayittey is a notable speaker to consider. He’s a Ghanian Scholar, and he coined thhe phrase “Cheetah Generation”.
According to Ayittey, the Cheetah Generation is defined as “A new generation of young Africans who look at African issues and problems from a totally unique perspective.”— he compares this generation to the old generation, which he refers to as the Hippo Generation— defined as being stuck in the past.
The Big Man Generation came about with leaders in Africa promising their people democracy and accountable governments. However, once these leaders were elected, they abused their powers, and did not meet any of the promises they made for their people. The governments mostly turned into a militant government and dictatorship.
Using the term Hippos, Big Man, and Cheetah, there’s a different way of looking at democracy and civil society especially in regards to women and NGOS.
The Cheetah Generation holds the most hope for the future of Africa. This can be deduced from the readings, and through the Ted Talks posted. According to the videos and readings, the new generation has potential to be successful leaders, and entrepreneurs. For example: Amadou Ba, a Senegalian, created a website that stands as a news aggregator for African news. Over 150 news organizations are affiliated with AllAfrica.com. Although Amadou Ba’s website generates revenue between outlets, Amara Konneh, Liberia’s Finance Minister specifically works on uniting NGOs. According to Radelet, “moving fast to develop strategies for growth and poverty reduction and to change relationship with donors, NGOs, and others supporting those strategies.” This means that Konneh is on his way to better the national development of Liberia and the relationship between NGOs.
Women are important to Mention. Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan cheetah generate, is “great leader in the spirit of the cheetah generation before most of the generation was even born,” according to Radelet. She started the “Green Belt” Movement. Radelet says that the organization is aimed at organizing young women to “plant trees to preserve the environment, create jobs, and improve the quality of life.” Maathai’s work has contributed to the pro-democracy movement, then she was appointed to assistant minister of environment and natural resources, leading up to her receiving the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.