In Emerging Africa, How 17 Countries are Leading the Way, Radelet classifies the people of Africa into two different categories. The first category, found in chapter seven, includes the “Cheetahs” or “the cheetah generation.” Coined by Ghanaian economist George Ayittey in 2010, this category can be defined by its strong dedication to reinvent Africa through transparency, democracy, and foreign affairs. The Cheetahs are likely to be younger and comprised of many African professionals and affluent graduates who see a better future for their home. These educated and driven citizens are looking for complete government and economic reform for all struggling nations in Africa. Much different from the Cheetahs, and the second category Radelet recognizes, is the “Big Man,” or the hippo generation. In chapter 3, Radelet defines this generation as radical and slow-moving. Much like the name suggest, these individuals believe in dictatorship, which consumed almost all of Africa until recently. The hippo generation may be seen as selfish and ruthless, believing personal gain is more important than communal gain. They find solace only with the thought of international financial support.
These terms explain the new way by which younger generations view democracy and civil society. By giving democratic supporters and civil society advocates a nickname, we are now looking at each individual and accrediting them with specific characteristics. Through the name “Cheetahs,” we are imagining determined, predatory, swift animals who believe in their principles and will fight hard for them. Generations have shifted their support of dictatorship to an unwavering support for democracy and human rights. Democracy and civil society are no longer viewed as a western, first world country luxury, but a genuine possibility for all countries.
Though it is no secret, nutrition in poor countries is a major health problem. Banerjee and Duflo remind us that, while Africa is first thought of as a continent of malnourished countries, hunger is not bound by the boarders of Africa. This is global issue. As explained in Poor Economics, a lack of food is not the problem. My pantry alone has enough to feed 30 individuals for a day. The problem is the allocation of food across the world. Banerjee and Duflo even recognize an almost bigger problem; when given extra money to purchase food, the poor choose to spend the money on less nutritious, more expensive food, rather than the food that would sustain them for longer. Banerjee and Duflo believe that the smartest way to combat this is to specifically focus on pregnant women and young children. We need to rethink food aids to all poor countries and start focusing on the cornerstone of communities. Making smart, nutritional decisions starts with a solid nutritional foundation, and ultimately leads to a healthier, more productive work force.
In the book, the authors bring up the almost taboo ritual that is witch hunting. These witch hunts are much different than the ones in the late 1960s that first come to mind. They come as a result of desperation. When resources are lacking, citizens of impoverished countries justify these hunts as a means of providing more resources for themselves. They look for someone to blame and sacrifice, and by doing this they have more resources for themselves. These witch hunts are just one of the many extreme injustices that result from the lack of food and nutrition.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with a population of 182 million. Nigeria is a democratic, federal republic which borders the Atlantic Ocean on the western side of Africa. One of Nigeria’s largest problems is its poverty rate, which reaches more than half the population at 62.6%. The first goal of the SDGs is to end poverty, which is a clear shortcoming in the nation of Nigeria. Nigeria’s GDP peaked in 2014 at about $568 billion and has since gone down, leaving them with a GDP of about $481 billion. In addition, their unemployment rate has just reached its highest since 2009 at 13.3%. These are another clear shortcoming of sustained economic growth and employment for all, the eighth goal of the SDGs. The last notable shortcoming involves the eleventh goal, which is to make human settlements safe. Nigeria’s biggest export is petroleum. The trading of stolen crude oil fuels violence in Nigeria, leaving some unsafe places to live. However, Nigeria has made some great strides. They have a student enrollment rate of 83%, which is only on the rise. Oil prices have risen globally, which will hopefully benefit Nigeria with more income. Lastly, agriculture is growing through its Agriculture Transformation Agenda, which will hopefully bring more sustainable economic growth to Nigeria. The SDGs in Nigeria seem to be equal in successes and drawbacks, and there is definitely room for improvement.