When I think of Africa the first thing that comes to mind is all of the news reports I have watched on the country over my 20 years of being alive. I cannot recall any good news being shown. I remember seeing reports of war, disease, and of course the reports of the horrifying poverty the countries in Africa suffer through. In Stephen Radelets writing Emerging Africa discusses how Africans recognize their news as either good or bad. As a matter of face he actually states that most African people believe there is an imbalance between the good and the bad. Radelet writes about how the media and other academic researchers have blended together all of the African Countries into a single country and that the continent-wide approach is misleading. It is overdone and misses key events and changes in this way because it combines improvements in one country then worsening in another. It makes a person conclude that nothing is changing when that is the opposite of the truth. “They are defying the usual pessimistic African storylines of war, famine, stagnant economies, deepening poverty, destructive political leadership, and poor governance.” (Radelet, 2010). In this piece of his writing he is referring to the achievements that Ghana, Mozambique, Mali, Tanzania, and Cape Verde have in the running.
Radelet speaks of five fundamental changes, which are at work. He believes these changes taking place in the political, economic, and social spheres of the countries are the beginnings of a revolution that will provide a for stronger foundation of economic growth, political evolution, and the reduction of poverty in the future. The five key changes that if all combined provide promise for success in the future are as follows:
- The rise of more democratic and accountable governments.
- The implementation of more sensible economic policies.
- The end of the decades-long debt crisis, and with it major changes in Africa’s relationship with the international community.
- The spread of new technologies that are creating new opportunities for business and political accountability.
- The emergence of a new generation of policy makers, activists, and business leaders.
As stated above, if these are all implemented and used collectively there is promise for the future. These factors are the reason for good news coming from these emerging African nations. His own words being “They provide the cornerstones for the emerging countries to sustain and build on their initial success, further deepen democracy, strengthen accountability and good governance, create more – and more broad – based – economic opportunities, fight disease and illiteracy, and reduce poverty.” (Radelet, 2010)
The Millennium Village Project tackles the challenges of poverty with presently 500,000 people in 14 different sites in 10 countries take part in the project. The sense of this project was to fight poverty at the village level through community-led development and then rural Africa can achieve the Millennium Development goals by 2015, and develop a base for sustainable growth.
Ruhirra Uganda is one of the countries the Millennium Village Project is trying to help battle different challenges being faced. Ruhirra is full of extremely poor roads therefore making travel between the six villages and neighboring commercial centers very difficult. These settlements were created after a sub-tropical forest reserve was cleared. Today there is only about 5% of land that is under tree cover, which causes a serious shortage of wood products and leaves women and children searching for firewood hours upon hours. The country receives about 1000 millimeters of rainfall which is plentiful and makes me wonder.. Why can they not begin to plant trees to rebuild and restock their wood shortage? Why is this an obvious problem that could be fixed easily but no one is helping Uganda do anything about it? I plead that one-day we will be able to come together and help fix this problem.
While Uganda faces many struggles there are several positive things happening in this country with help of the Project. There were exciting things happening in the Uganda school system such as it was the first site in the program to launch the school 2 school program which used the Internet to connect children to a school in the USA. Also the number of children receiving a meal in the schools went from an alarming 5% to 74%. This may be because the average maize yield in the country has increased from 1.8 to 3.9 tons per hectare. The Project also registered a virtually fourfold growth in the amount of people using an improved drinking system. The overall gross domestic product per person employed has also shot up since the project started up in 2000. The most recently recorded GDP in 2014 is $3,623.47 while in 2000 it was $2194.38.
Radelet, S. (n.d.). Emerging Africa- How 17 Countries are Leading the Way.