Rob Katz

TED Global — Cheetahs or Hippos?

That TED Global came and went without so much as a whisper here on is a shame.? The curator, Emeka Okafor, is a friend and also the mind behind Timbuktu Chronicles, a must-read for those of us in the BOP set.? How could I miss reporting on his major conference?

Thankfully, others are there to pick up the slack.? Most notable is Ethan Zuckerman – where doesn’t this guy go? – whose insightful posts give us blow-by-blow reporting on who says what and what it all means.? Check out My Heart’s in Accra and browse through the archives from last week and the week before, you’ll learn more than you can imagine.Meskel Square also does a great job summing things up, including passing along a new construction on Africa – Cheetahs vs. Hippos (the dichotomy belongs to George Ayittey, an economics professor at American University and someone I had the pleasure of meeting at a conference a few months back.? I think George might be best characterized as a lion…check out his Africa Unchained if you don’t agree or just want to know more.)

Regardless, here’s the deal with Cheetahs vs. Hippos:

The Cheetah Generation – made up of the youth, specifically the TED Fellows present here, the saviors of Africa who are not going to wait for government and aid organizations to do things for them.

The Hippo Generation – the current political and business leaders who are happy to wallow in their water holes, complaining about colonialism and poverty, but doing nothing about it. [Thank you White African for the summary.]

Happy reading…and sorry for the radio silence on this one.