Thursday, 14 January 2010

Dambisa Moyo 'Dead Aid'

During the summer, I read the controversial, 'Dead Aid' by the Zambian economist, Dambisa Moyo and was incredibly excited and refreshed to hear about solutions for Africa from a female African economist.

With four degrees under her belt, and heavy weight work experience, she spent some time at the World Bank as well as Goldman Sachs, Dambisa Moyo makes an aggressive attack on the aid model. It is important to note that in her book Dambisa is talking specifically about bilateral aid and is not referring to humanitarian aid or charitable aid, though she does remind the reader that we should remain aware of what charity can do and what it cannot do.

She does indeed make some compelling arguments:
  • Why is that over a billion dollars worth of aid has gone to Africa in the last 60 years but the continent is now poorer.
  • Aid cripples the private sector, as well as the free market. Aid is a ' aid solution..' that is only useful in the short term. Africans should not rely on foreign governments for the provision of public goods.
  • There are other ways of raising money including trade with emerging economies like China and India as well as accessing the capital markets.

Whilst her book is a bit heavy, in that it tends to overload you with facts and some of her assertions are rather spurious, it's a good read. I would give it an overall 3/5 on the basis that some of her assertions are inaccurate. However, I am very impressed that she has ignited a conversation that is spoken of way to little and has highlighted how complicated the aid system is.

I am looking forward to her next book; 'How the West Was Lost' coming out this year.

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  • Medsin-GKT, King's College London, Guy's Campus, 19 Newcomen St, London, SE1 1UL