“There’s good news out of Africa. Not all of Africa. But from a large part of Africa that quietly, with little fanfare, is on the move.” This is a piece from Emerging Africa: how 17 countries are leading the way, by Steven Radelet. Before reading the articles I took time to think about what I thought I knew about Africa, what I thought was going on in Africa, and about the people I know personally who are from Africa. I was taken back the more I read. My thoughts came from videos I would see at church and on the news about the countries where children have bloated stomachs and where you see children digging in the trash for food. I would see the worst of the worst and assumed that all of Africa was just like what I saw in the videos.
I am happy to read that there is ‘good news’ coming from Africa. There is improvement in the country and there is a positivity shining through the rubble. There are a few things that are majorly changing and improving in Africa, they are: economic growth, deepening democracy, stronger leadership, and falling property. There has been a steady growth of all of these aspects since the 90’s. Like I said earlier I thought all of Africa as being what you see on the news and the horrible things you read that are happening in the country. However, there are many places in Africa that are on the move of improvement and have made many changes over the years. Most Americans see the SSA as one entity or single country rather than looking at individual places. I am guilty of this just as many others. The media tries to portray the bad things that are happening in Africa but are not showing the improvements. That is something that needs to change.
As exciting as it is to see improvements in Africa they have to stay motivated to continue their good works. As said in chapter 1, “Just because they are making improvements doesn’t mean that they can sit back and relax. They have much more work today”. Five changes that are currently at work are; a rise of more democratic and accountable governments, implementation of more sensible economic policies, end of long debt crisis, new technologies, and new generation of policy makers, activists and business leaders. I believe if they continue to work on these changes in 20 years, Africa will be a different country. Africa is looking for that “Promise for the future” as mentioned in chapter 1 as well.
Something that I found very interesting is that in the 1960’s Africa has growth in the country just as they are having currently. What made this growth become stagnant? Were government leaders afraid of change? Did the people of the country get tired of trying? Did other countries stop assisting the growth? So many questions arise in my mind that I wish I knew the answers to. I am blessed to know a few people from Africa, one from Hoedspurit, South Africa, and three from Eldoret, Kenya. The differences in those people are like night and day. You can see the status of the country by how they carry themselves and how they live. My friend from South Africa, you can clearly see that he has has more of a privileged live compared to the people from Kenya. The Kenyas have had a much harder time adjusting to the American way of life. They feel as if they are in a magical land that one could only dream of, yet the South African has less of an adjustment to the new way of living. I can only hope and pray that in the future that Africa will be to the point where South Africa is as a country. Growth in Africa is long overdue and I pray that unlike the 60’s that they continue to become a better country.
Tiby, Mali is a poor part in Africa and is apart of the Millennium Project with others in Africa. The Millennium Project’s goal is to globalize countries in major poverty. This village was chosen to be apart of the project because it is the poorest area in Mali and nearly every aspect of the area is lacking. Tiby has a population about 75,000, has a dry season of 9 to 11 months, and lacks many resources. There is only 2 health clinics in the area and there is only 27 schools that go to sixth grade. Medical care is too expensive for most and the available rooms in a clinic are so sparse that only sick children and pregnant women usually get a room. Since there is such a long dry season they have a hard time producing enough food for everyone in the area. The closest market to buy food is too far and too expensive to visit regularly. Many have little to eat and live with little resources. Even with all the cons there are some pros to this area. Tiby has a garden that is worked by 2,800 women. This garden increases production and income. Men in the area have been introduced to fertilizer which helps grow Millet. Best of all the government is very supportive of the Millennium Project and will allow it to continue in Tiby. Hopefully one day Tiby will become more civilized and there will be better opportunity for those living there.
Jeffrey Sachs. The Age of Sustainable Development. Chapter 14 as pdf on Bb-SDG
Steven Radelet Emerging Africa – How 17 Countries are Leading the Way (on Bb- SDG&Africa-Africa): read Foreword, Chapter One and Chapter Three
Millennium Villages http://millenniumvillages.org/the-villages/