Week 4: Senegal, Mali, and Emerging Africa

In Emerging Africa, “Big Man” and the hippo generation refers to the rise of authoritarianism and militaristic rule jn Africa just after the large storm of independence movements happened, with the new independence leaders taking full control and the weak judicial and legislative branches being forced to conform to the much more powerful government. The book states that, by the mid-1980s, most of the sub-Saharan African countries were ruled by dictatorships.

George Ayittey discusses the cheetah generation vs. the hippo generation.

“Cheetah” and the cheetah generation refers to the new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa that are giving Africa hope for the future. They are mostly young and consist of both men and women who are often well-educated and live in more urban areas, although there are some that aren’t and don’t. The cheetah generation is slowly replacing the hippo generation and making Africa more productive.

At the beginning of the hippo generation, there was a lot of hope for democracy and the new leaders promised that Africa would become more democratic, but the leaders didn’t keep the promise and instead maintained dictatorships. Democracy has become more of a reality in the cheetah generation. They are working to make the government more accountable and innovative.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a role as many of the “cheetahs” run local NGOs. One of these is AllAfrica.com, run by Amadou Ba of Senegal. This website shares news articles and is helping the press in Africa become less corrupt. This is also true for Ba’s other NGO, the African Media Initiative, which trains emerging members of the media to be more prominent and progressive.

Women are also taking on larger roles in the cheetah generation. They are taking on bigger positions as political and civil society leaders and government officials. This helps the economic aspect of Africa as more jobs are being created and more education is becoming available to train these women who have never before held such an importance in Africa.

In Jeffrey Sach’s book The End of Poverty, he names a number of problems plaguing developing countries and preventing them from advancing in the world. Some of these problems include:

-adverse productivity shock because of the dry and hot conditions in Africa

-a lack of savings because people must spend to survive

-lack of trade because of the country’s location or because they are confined to their area because of violence or lack of structure

-natural resource decline because villages can’t afford or keep fertilizer for their farms so they can’t grow produce

-technological reversal because of all the widespread diseases; people are made dependent rather than advancing

The diagnostic checklist that Sachs proposes is:

-Poverty trap

-Economic policy framework

-Fiscal framework/fiscal trap

-Physical geography

-Governance patterns and failures

-Cultural barriers


Two sub-Saharan African countries that are trying to solve these issues are Senegal and Mali.


Poverty trap: In 2011, Senegal’s poverty headcount ratio at national poverty lines was 46.7%. This has decreased by almost 10% since 2001, meaning Senegal has made progress in this area and is helping more and more citizens get out of poverty.

Infrastructure: The World Bank recently financed an $86 million project that will boost Senegal’s food production and create jobs, called the Sustainable and Inclusive Agribusiness Development Project.

Physical Geography: Another recent project funded by the World Bank is the Community-based Sustainable Land Management Project, which will administer to the somewhat poor physical features of Senegal and improve agriculture, irrigation and drainage, and forestry.


Physical Geography: The World Bank recently funded the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program, which helped farmers in Mali increase their productivity and helped Mali itself improve the farming conditions even though Mali’s environment is over half desert.

Poverty Trap: Mali’s poverty headcount at national poverty lines has also decreased. It has gone down to 43.6 % in 2010 from 55.6% in 2001, meaning Mali has also made improvements in the economic status of its citizens.

Infrastructure: Mali is a participant in the World Bank’s Skills Development and Youth Employment Project. Adults and youth will gain skills in finance, career training, and literacy, making them more likely to get jobs and contribute to both the economy and society and help Mali develop.


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