Post 3: Exploring Poor Economics in Africa

Burkina Faso is one of the emerging countries that Radelet writes about in his book Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries are Leading the Way. In the low income country of Burkina Faso there is a group made up of mostly women who are known as the Song-Taaba Yalgre organization. This group of women who come from areas of deep poverty had begun to bring in additional income by producing shea butter for export. They realized they had ran into difficulties regarding communication and getting information they needed about production needs, deliveries, and prices. They had to figure out a less costly and less time consuming way to communicate with the headquarters in Ouagadougou to get the information about what, where, and when to sell their product. The internet is what helped them with this. Because the internet they were able to progress flow of information among the central offices and rural producers. The end result was improved efficiency, advanced production levels, bigger profits, and more women joining produce shea butter to bring in money. Burkina Faso has a GDP of 10.678 Billon when it was last recorded in 2015 which has gone up dramatically sense the early 2000’s. And as of 2014 40.1% of the population in that country is living below the national poverty line. The governments goals for this country include improving the transportation and communication of infrastructure, as well as increasing its electricity production capacity. As of 2015 Burkina Faso has implemented one PPP in an energy sector and there has also been private investment in the telecom sector. As of right now 13.1 precent of the population has access to electricity, 80.64 per 100 people have mobile cellular subscriptions, and 11.39 per 100 people are internet users.

In chapter six of Radelets book he writes about the technological upraise in the emerging countries. Technology is affecting the economy in many ways. He thanks the development of cell phones, Interest connections, and other forms of information and communications technology (ICT), for helping people out of poverty and serving the economic fortune of Africa. “Across Africa, mobile phones and Internet connections are expanding economic opportunities, creating jobs, reducing business costs, extending financial networks, strengthening health systems, improving information flows, and increasing transparency and accountability”, Redelet notes. In towns where transportation is impossible having a mobile phones open up access to the poor villages on finding out information on market prices along with market conditions, legal advice, and medical care. Internet connectivity has strengthened democratic processes by spreading news bulletins, sending ballot information in elections, and encouraging greater sheerness of government funds. Technology is a new thing to Africa and has had such a great impact in sustaining the advance in recent years and future years as it will continue to grow.

Cheetahs can be found in all parts of society across all of Africa. They are the people are provide hope and if given the chance they will provoke positive change in their home countries. The cheetah generation is a new generation of young Africans who look at African issues and issues from a special perspective. The Hippo generation is known as people of the past who are complaining about colonialism and imperialism. Falling under the category of a “cheetah” means as a person you are an “emerging class of entrepreneurs and leaders is focused on transparency, accountability, good governance, respect for basic human rights, and private sector economic opportunities”(Radelet, 2017).They think uniquely and are not tied to nationalist pedagogy or Western mandates. Radelet writes about how the cheetah generation means maybe things but he lists five that stand out:

  1. They are bringing fresh ideas to the table in business, government and civil society.
  2. They are self-reliant and self-starters.
  3. They are providing new thinking and perspectives on brand new businesses, such as biomass fuel for cleaner and smaller-scale energy in rural areas and on how to organize old businesses better, including everything from bakeries to breweries.
  4. They come with ideas and strategies for organizing communities, particularly youth, to provide local services and speak out in political debates.
  5. They come with ideas and approaches for using the private sector to solve what were once seen as public sector problems, such as supplying clean water and basic health services.

Cheetahs get the gears moving which gives them power. They are the force that brings change to the “shift to democracy, the introduction of more sensible economic policies, and the end of the debt crisis, the establishment of better relationships with the international community, also the rise of new technologies.”(Radelet, 2017).They aim for more representative and self-governing governments and demand transparency and accountability. It turns out that the Big Man is run by Authoritarianism.

The idea of a nutrition-based poverty trap is discussed in the book Poor Economics by Banerjee and Duflo. We do need to rethink policy, there is a poverty trap that has been created. “The very poor people earn less than they need to be able to do significant work, but those who have enough to eat can do serious agricultural work” which is how the poverty gap was created and continues to increase (Banerjee, 2011). The poor basically stay in poverty and fall deeper into poverty and the rich people get more rich and eat better which makes them stronger and more valuable therefore the gap increase. The book talks about how if people in poverty got the chance to eat more food to gain more energy and value to do meaningful work for money then they would be able to escape the poverty zone. But also stated in the book is how the poor have many choices on how they want to spend their money and they do not choose to spend it on food. It is spent on other expenditures such as alcohol, tobacco, and festivals. Another finding is that when poor people get a little extra money to spend on food they do not spend it on more calories, instead they buy better-tasting food, which is obviously a nutritional problem. You need key nutrients to survive and also to help you become strong so you are able to work the jobs that will bring in money for you and your family. If you are not able to do that you may be stuck in poverty. The book also mentions about how witch-hunts are still happening today. These happen when countries go though hard times such as droughts, the witch-hunts help get rid of an unproductive mouth to feed. Witches are usually found to be older single women and get chased out of town of killed by others living in the area.

Resources:

Banerjee, A. V., & Duflo, E. (2011). Poor economics: a radical rethinking of the way to fight global poverty. New York: PublicAffairs.

Burkina-Faso. (n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 2017, from http://data.worldbank.org/country/burkina-faso

Burkina-Faso. (n.d.). Retrieved February 06,2017, from http://pppknowledgelab.org/countries/burkina-faso

Radelet, S. (n.d.). Emerging Africa – How 17 Countries are Leading the Way.

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