Steven Radelet’s book entitled, Emerging Africa- How 17 Countries are Leading the Way, goes into detail about the long-lasting changes many countries in Africa have adopted over the last fifteen years. Twenty-three countries, nearly half of SSA’s 48 countries, have gotten used to this new way of life—and they are continuing to head in the right direction. Radelet describes these countries to “have achieved steady economic growth, deepening democracy, stronger leadership, and falling poverty” (Radelet).
To go more into detail, Radelet provides us with many factors that prove to us that Africa is continuing to dig their way out of the old life they lived. Economical growth rates have been at least 2 percent per capita in each country, averaging 3.2 percent per capita, and the poverty line has dropped more than 10 percent in 12 years. On top of that, school enrollment, financial returns on investment, health care, and literary rates are all increasing and will continue to do so. Let’s take a look at Ghana more specifically. Ghana’s economy has grown 5 percent every single year over the past 15 years, which is huge. Their average income has increased to more than 40 percent, making poverty go from 50 percent to lower than 30 percent. Ghana is working extremely hard to keep this up, and continue to grow as a country. Similar to Ghana is Mozambique, Mali, Tanzania, and Cape Verde. Each of these countries are making huge, permanent turnarounds and will continue to improve. Radelet goes into detail about how the government has played a roll in the advancement of African countries. Democracies are replacing dictatorships, and the changes are deep. He explains, “there has been marked improvement in the quality of governance, in which there is less conflict and political violence, stronger adherence to the rule of law, and lower levels of corruption” (Radelet). This transformation is doing great things to Africa, and it is only the start.
Towards the end of chapter 1 in Emerging Africa- How 17 Countries are Leading the Way, Radelet points out the 5 fundamental changes at work in Africa. First, the rise of more democratic and accountable governments. Second, the implementation of more sensible economic policies. Third, the end of the decades-long debt crisis, and with it major changes in Africa’s relationship with the international community. Fourth, the spread of new technologies that are creating new opportunities for business and political accountability. Lastly, the emergence of a new generation of policymakers, activists, and business leaders. By looking at these main changes, we are encouraged that these countries will continue to break away from the “usual pessimistic African storylines” (Radelet). Radelet points out that it is very important to have good neighboring countries who are working hard to improve their economy for the long term. What happens in each country affects the rest of the world, and it is motivation to other poor countries fighting to be better. What will they do next? Will more countries in Africa adopt this lifestyle and continue to improve their economy for good? I am hoping that they keep up with this and bring the economy into a much better state—there is hope!
When looking at my assigned villages, I chose to explore Tiby, Mali more in depth. The Tiby cluster is located in the southern region of Segou, and has a population of 75,000. Segou is one of the poorest areas in all of Mali. Tiby is an extremely dry area, only receiving about 250-500 millimeters of rain per year—which is nothing. Due to their dry season of 9 to 11 months, farming and food security in Tiby is highly unreliable. This leads to malnutrition and a decrease in agricultural productivity. The millennium villages website explains that “the combined effects of high human and animal population, exploitation of natural resources (foods, fuel, fodder, shelter, etc), and unfavorable climatic conditions have put the soils under unprecedented pressure” (Millennium). The child mortality rate is extremely high in Tiby, which is mainly due to malaria. With that being said, they bumped the total number of clinics to 6, meeting Health Ministry’s standards.
While there are many negatives associated with Tiby, they are also highlighted for several good things done in the last few years. Micro-doze fertilizer technology and drip irrigation was brought to Tiby, which nearly doubled millet yields and is currently contributing to the development of vegetation. Tiby also recently restored 13 vegetable gardens, pushing production and increasing income. This benefits about 2,800 women. It’s clear that Tiby is taking steps to end poverty, and with their main goal to increase the success of all things farming, I have faith that they will continue to make decisions only to help their village.
Millennium Villages | Tiby, Mali. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://millenniumvillages.org/the-villages/tiby-mali/
Radelet, S. (n.d.). Emerging Africa- How 17 Countries are Leading the Way.