In the last few chapters of the book, Radelet talks about the increased technological wave that has arisen in the emerging countries. He also talks about “Cheetahs” and how they have the potential to evoke and encourage more change to the emerging 17 countries. Technology and information access has made its way to these emerging countries in sub-Saharan Africa. About 70% of the population in emerging countries is covered by cell networks. This is a huge advantage to farmers and others in textile industries. Instead of walking miles and miles to find out what market prices are, farmers can stay updated through Internet access on their cellphones. Instead of wasting time, cellphones now enable workers to maximize their time. The introduction and surge of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) has fueled entrepreneur-ships and commerce, expanded financial access (women can have separate accounts from their husbands), strengthened health delivery services (instead of walking miles to the nearest clinic, a picture of x-rays, etc. can be sent locally or internationally), and strengthened democracy and governance (people are more vocal in pointing out fallacies).
Cheetahs are majority of young Africans that are fed up with the past and who bring unique perspective, talent, energy and hope. They are termed cheetahs because they have “begun quietly and quickly to move into Africa’s government bureaucracies, political leaderships, private sector, and civil society groups, replacing staid practices with innovation and accountability.” Cheetahs are characterized by Radelet as having five qualities that set them apart from the hippo generation. First, cheetahs have new ideas, which bring in a new perspective. Second, cheetahs are technologically savvy. Third, cheetahs are entrepreneurs either locally or abroad. Fourth, cheetahs have market power. They are not just changing the market with their new ideas, they are still consumers. Fifth is the push for good governance – transparency, accountability, private sector economic opportunities, and a respect for basic human rights. The opposing group of the Cheetahs is the Big Man of the hippo generation. The hippo generation is slow-moving and stuck in the past complaining about colonialism and imperialism. Big Man promoted was authoritarianism and military rule. Power was concentrated in strong executives, with weak judicial and legislative branches co-opted to go along. The government curtailed civil liberties and political freedoms and many other terrible actions.
Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries are Leading the Way by Steven Radelet was a very interesting read. I would have never realized that different countries in Africa were improving. Because the media paints this picture of Africa always in conflict, everyone in the whole continent is hungry, there are no jobs, etc. whenever I hear Africa I automatically think ‘war’, ‘poverty’. While extreme poverty and dictators and other issues exist in Africa, I never would have expected improvements illustrated in this book.
Another book that talks about poverty is Poor Economics by Banerjee and Duflo. In the first two chapters, nutrition-based poverty is discussed. The problem is not that there is not enough food, stated in the book; there is enough food for everyone on this planet. The problem is that people are spending their extra income on things other than food. When people get extra money, one would think that they would spend it on more food. Instead of buying more food, they buy tastier food and less of it. Tastier food tends to not be healthier, so the problem is that poor people are not getting enough micronutrients, even when they have a little bit of extra money. We need to rethink food policy in that, giving them more money will not cause them to eat better. Instead there needs to be ways of “developing foods that people like to eat with additional nutrients and coming up with new strains of nutritious and tasty crops that can be grown in a wider range of environments.” The authors also mentioned that witch hunts are popular when poor families face hard times like droughts, to get rid of unproductive people in the community. These hunts are still occurring because, people get sick in a village or a terrible situation happens, and accuses a supposed witch. These women, often single and old are chased out of their villages, or are beaten and killed.
Liberia is among the emerging countries mentioned in Radelet’s book. Liberia has a GDP of $2.053 billion as of 2015. As of 2007 the poverty headcount was 63.8. Liberia’s President Ellen Sirleaf plans to commit to SDG 5, which is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. By committing to this SDG, Ellen plans to pass a domestic violence bill. This bill would ensure a ban in female mutilation and ensure women’s’ participation in politics. “Liberia is a bit ahead in the implementation of the SDGs because the country has already begun the implementation of almost all of the contents of the SDGs in its previous development agenda.” Goals 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 16, and 17 are
priority for the government of Liberia. Liberia has been listed as “Doing Business” by the World Bank. Liberia has had a 13-point improvement since last year. Since the World Bank survey in 2009, Liberia has adopted 21 reforms. Liberia is one of the emerging countries in Africa that is influencing change.