Week 5: Cheetahs and Democracy

A cheetah that is currently making strides towards a better Africa is Mark Heywood. He has fought for human rights in Lesotho and Zambia. The poverty level in both of these countries is being worked on by the use of cash transfers. Heywood states that these are not long term solutions to this problem because the government could run out of money. Social transfers cover the various forms of social assistance for low-income or no-income individuals and households, and can include child support grants, non-contributory pensions, school feeding schemes, and agricultural or other inputs.

Mark-Heywood

(http://www.law.georgetown.edu/oneillinstitute/faculty/Mark-Heywood.cfm)

Another cheetah is Nicholas Freeland. From 2005 to 2011 he was the Programme Director of the Regional Hunger & Vulnerability Programme (RHVP) in southern Africa, working to promote social protection as a response to chronic poverty. He is currently Team Leader of the European Commission’s Advisory Service in Social Transfers.

He has been working on social protection for the citizens of Africa. He states that the poor are the solution. If they are provided with comprehensive social protection it will help to generate the economy and sustainable growth. By doing this, it will reduce poverty and the overall cost of social protection.

Freeland also states that there has been a significant impact on hunger. In Lesotho, between 50% and 80% of the old age pension is spent on food. The percentage of Lesotho’s old age pensioners who reported that they “never went hungry” increased from 19% before the pension to 48% after it was introduced.

In Zambia, as a result of receiving a cash transfer, 12% more households consumed proteins every day, and 35% more households consumed oil every day.

Major obstacles in raising the Sub Saharan countries out of poverty:

  • macroeconomic instability
  • inadequate legal systems
  • armed conflicts threaten the viability of growth oriented problems
  • high tax rates
  • the poor quality of infrastructure, particularly in sectors like communications (ports, roads, and railroads) and electric power generation
  • less open to international trade compared to other developing countries
  • and the debt overhand that many African countries have accumulated over time

The Lesotho government is a constitutional monarchy. It is often referred to as the tiny mountain kingdom. The arms of state in Lesotho are broken up into three parts, the legislature, the executive branch and the judiciary branch. The legislature consists of the senate and national assembly. The executive branch consists of the Lesotho Cabinet, government ministries and the government secretary. The judiciary branch consists of the appeal court, high court, and magistrate court.

27_LEST0001

(http://www.jobserveafrica.com/country-fact-file/27/lesotho)

The Zambian government is a republic. Zambia’s ruling party candidate Edgar Lungu has won the country’s closely fought presidential election with 48.33 percent of the vote. Turnout for the election was around 32% due to heavy rains in the land locked country.

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