Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Time to stop aid for Africa?

February 5, 2009

Far from being all bad news for Africa, the global financial crisis is a chance to break a dependence on development aid that has kept it in poverty, argues Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo, who has just published a new book “Dead Aid”.

Moyo’s book, her first, comes out at a time when Western campaigners, financial institutions and some African governments have been warning of the danger posed to Africa by the crisis and calling for more money from developed countries as a result. The former World Bank and Goldman Sachs economist spoke to Reuters in London.

“I’m not saying its going to be easy, I’m just saying that there is a real opportunity for policymakers to focus on coming up with more innovative ways of financing economic development. In a way the crisis actually provides the African governments with the situation where they cannot rely on aid budgets coming through from the West.”

Moyo believes more than $1 trillion in development aid over the past 50 years has only entrenched Africa’s poverty, distorted economies and fuelled bureaucracy and corruption. She sees alternatives such as encouraging trade – particularly with emerging markets – encouraging foreign direct investment, microfinancing for enterprise and seeking funds from capital markets.

Moyo is not discouraged by the fact that all those options appear more difficult in the current environment.

“It just means the onus is on African governments to come up with a more compelling story as to why African governments are overseeing real asset investment not derivative products we don’t really understand.”

“If you focus on traditional markets like Europe and the United States, you come to the conclusion that markets are really damaged and it’s very hard to raise money in those markets, but if you start to look towards China for example which has $4 trillion of reserves, all of a sudden you could see there might be another opportunity to do a bond issue in the Chinese market for example.”

“The model that’s coming up, that I’m proposing, is essentially one where Africa and Africans become equal partners with the rest of the world, not one where there is kind of a donor and a recipient, where Africans are kind of viewed as secondary citizens,” she said.

“There is no other system, whether a political system or a business system, that has stayed as the status quo for 60 years when we all know it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do, it’s not generating growth and it’s not alleviating poverty.”

Moyo is not worried about the impact of aid being taken away:

“It actually tends to pool at the top so it’s not like the average African is going to suffer. They don’t see the aid anyway. Essentially it‘s going to really affect the bureaucratic processes at the top and would really impact on corruption.”

“You could take me to country X in Africa and say ‘look at this girl here and she’s going to school because of aid’. Yes, that’s true but on a macro aggregate perspective these economies are not growing. They’re not growing fast enough to ensure that when that girl is done with her schooling she can find a job.”

Moyo is unimpressed by Western campaigners such as rock stars Bob Geldof and Bono calling for lots more aid for Africa.

“I fundamentally object to the notion that Africa needs more aid and I do think it’s time to have many more Africans speak out, especially the policymakers, because many of the policymakers actually don’t support aid  and yet they stay in the background and they allow this money to come into the economy.”

“You very rarely see Africans on the global stage saying ‘actually we would like to have much more aid please’.”

“I do think a gap has opened up to allow other people to formulate a view on coming to the global debate and offering opinions as to what they think Africans want. But maybe we should start a website called ‘Ask the African’ because I think you might be quite surprised to find that people say ‘we want jobs’, I wouldn’t mind a flat screen television, I wouldn’t mind having my kids go on holiday sometimes …’”

Picture: Helen Jones photography

Comments

Hi, I do not think it is good to stop the aid at this time. People will get angry and probably attach the government.The best way is to get the country better, try to get low-cost labor advantages and beat ‘China’ or other Asia countries.

 

I agree 100% with Dambisa Moyo. Last October, I recall arguing with an American called Dan about this issue of donor aid. I will reiterate what I said to him then:”The west should keep its aid because no nation in the world have being known to have developed based on donor largesse…Only a fraction of the aid pledged by Western governments (to the cheering of their domestic electorate) is ever recieved by African countries. In any case, donating aid to its former colonies is merely a feel-good exercise carried out by western nations. If there was any genuine attempt to help Africa then perharps a version of the 1947 Marshall Plan used in war-devastated Europe could have been rolled out rather than the donation of pittance that has no impact on ordinary people in the continent…”I went on to argue that Africa should ignore Western rantings over “Human Rights” which they don’t even respect themselves (Guantanamo Bay gulag, rendition flights, supporting pro-western arab dictators, etc) and strengthen trade ties with China, India and also among themselves.China presents to Africa an opportunity to do away with the Master-Servant economic relationship imposed on us by Western nations after independence. After all, in the 1970s, China built the Zambia-Tanzania railway free of charge at a time when Western leaders snubbed appeals by Kenneth Kaunda and Julius Nyerere to help fund that railway as a way of by-passing restrictions imposed by Apartheid South Africa.

Posted by Chimaoge Okezue | Report as abusive
 

I think the argument has some merit. It’s likely, though, that the best route is not to stop aid completely but to create a timeline for when Africa can being self sustenance.ricoexplainsitall.squarespace .com

 

Africa need more young leaders who are knowledgeable and experience on economic idealism. That is what we’re lacking. We have all the rich resources getting out of mthe country each day but yet hunging on aid which have never work since centuries ago but rather have drive the dark continent into more poverty.With corruption right, center and left. The old metality doesn’t jive anymore. I’m Ghanaian speaking from experience. look at the current government talking about the country is broke, what do you think investors will do, they shore off their investment out of the country.

Posted by Albert Carl | Report as abusive
 

I believe that the sentiment is nice, but a bit misguided. Stopping aid in and of itself with not necessarily help Africa. The other options of building the economy will. These options are present with or without aid, and in fact can be facilitated in part by aid. As an African who lives and works in China, I believe that quoting China’s reserves only betrays a vast misunderstanding of the country’s ability and willingness to replace western assistance. To counter that statistic, I could also mention that China has been in the top 10 recipients of development assistance until 2005, and is still in the top 20. More important than saying what doesn’t work, why not give more realistic options as to what can work.

Posted by T | Report as abusive
 

I very much agree with Dabisa Moyo with one proviso. In the event of a catastrophe or famine like situation, then I think highly targetted and rapid response type aid is required.Having said that AID is clearly a racket. I have read that out of each $1.00 given in the West, less than 10 cents is received by the recipient. The rest goes on an overarching Bureaucracy both at home and in Africa. A great deal of it gets spent on brand new Prados and fancy expense account meals. Whole swathes of NGOs are set up to bilk the system. The more esoteric the program the more likely its being a facade.African Governments have been no better. Whole Bureaucracies wait for the opportunity to pounce on these inward aid flows.I really believe we have reached an inflexion point in so many ways. African citizenry [via the Phone and increasingly via the Internet – Broadband is coming and it will be revolutioniary – Its a leap frog from exchanging ideas by walking to the next village – to a World on Communication steroids. The entire Government and Governed dichotomy is set for practically revolutioniary change.Aid will be held under the spotlight and looked at holistically, it will be seen to be substantially ineffective.I would also add that Africa probably needs a fair application of free market principles to really gain serious traction. Microfinance probably represents the best risk adjusted lending anywhere I can think off. When its your lifeline, you pay things back. The African is entrepreneurial. You will find markets all over wherever you go on the Continent.And Dabisa’s point is well made. The world is more multi polar now. The Demand side of the African equation is not driven by just one monolithic Customer.We need to get a grip, think in a grown up manner and organise things. If we dont, conditions on the ground will become unbearable and Governments will start toppling like ten green bottles.Aly-Khan Satchu

 

I like the fact that Dambisa Moyo is so frank and blunt about what the real issues affecting economic growth in Africa are.It all reads as a sort of tough love policy that will require indigenous self-sufficiency and there is indeed a lot of truth in that.However to single out Zimbabwe as an example, certain countries will need an enormous amount of aid to give prospects of economic growth some kind of structure. Now that the expertise of white farmers are absent and an agro-based economy has been made fallow and overseen by under-equipped “new farmers” – western aid will definitely be required to re-build the economy.Her proposals however noble and accurate are not universally applicable to every African country.

Posted by Will | Report as abusive
 

A lifetime in Rhodesia and then Zimbabwe has honed my perspective on aid to Africa. As Rhodesia the country pulled itself up by it’s own boot straps. Without aid (and even under international sanctions), it became self-sustaining and a net exporter. Education, health, infrastructure, agriculture, mining and communications were hugely improved.Within twenty years, and despite massive aid, Zimbabwe became a basket case. Endemic corruption, incompetence and an inability to foresee consequences were the causes.There is a stark lesson here for those who care to find it!

Posted by Mike Beresford | Report as abusive
 

If aid was not necessary it would not exist. You dont ban banks (including Goldman Sachs) because companies fail. You dont ban medicine or hospitals because disease continues. You dont ban schools because children dont learn as well as they should. Nor do you ban roads or airports because of accidents etc. You make things more effective. Those who argue against aid want to sell books to simpletons and their ideological sympathizers. Moyo was never a World Bank staff. At best, she was a temporary consultant. She has no credentials in development, economics, or finance, and scant experience to make her a credible voice, and she is certainly not an authority by any stretch of imagination.The frustration that it has not worked, and blaming aid, is akin to saying we should stop treatment because the patient is not recovering for whatever reason – lack of cooperation or ineffectiveness. Many naive commentators quote irrelevant examples of countries that have succeeded without aid and in the process betray their own ignorance. There is not a single country that has succeeded economically without aid, not even the United States. The advanced countries had colonies to plunder and military power to defraud their creditors with impunity (i.e. default on their debts) — all of them, without exception. They still have global economic hegemony to plunder and sustain their economies, only this time not always (but very often) through direct resort to military power. Talkers and writers without direct responsibility or experience with poverty and development assistance live in utopia – a world where all things wished were possible. They are often elitists who feel superior in their vaunted knowledge but without a single scar of experience or often even expertise in the issues they so eloquently write and talk about. More often than not, they are “successful” (merely lucky) in the private sector, got jobs in places like Goldman Sachs so they earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, and imagine it is becuase they are smart or the whole world could be likewise lucky. China, Korea, Japan, Europe, every country that has succeeded, has done so by using their own ingenuity, favorable trade policies, and outside assistance. They have been lucky as well, to be able to take advantage of their advantages when the opportunity came their way. Africa’s time will come. For a young person like the author, 50 years seems like a long time, but in reality it is a drop in the ocean of time. Africa is making progress, but its problems and burden of disease, wars and outside interference cannot be underestimated. It is time to make aid more effective and smarter, not to gut it.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive
 

This is a very enlightening approach. I agree with Ms. Moyo. The results of aid are apparent. It is addictive. This not only occurs in Africa, but in developed countries where aid is given to regions which are not thriving, it also becomes addictive.Aly-Khan makes an excellent point when he states only about 10 cents out of each $dollar actually reaches the recipient. Big dollars frequently go expensive flights, hotels, meals etc. It is a culture of entitlement with many. Especially the UN and their agencies.Mike Beresford also makes excellent points. But wait Mike, when Mugabe is no longer the leader in Zimbabwe the world of donar agencies will flood it with money not respecting Ms. Moyo wise point of view. And Aly-Khan, the expensive hotels in Harare will be fully booked with donars using 90% of their money.

Posted by buffalojump | Report as abusive
 

Dambisa’s opinion makes complete sense to me. Aid is what helps many of the worst rulers survive – even look at Mugabe. It is not him who is feeding his people. If you take away the aid then people will have to make the right decisions and take their own responsibilities instead of looking to foreigners to do that for them. Even in other cases the money from donors that goes into projects allows bad governments show they are delivering something while they steal the money that should have been spent on those very same projects. We have been independent in most African countries for two generations or three generations. We say we are equal with all others and then abase ourselves for handouts. Yes if you are addicted to crack cocaine it is hard to break the habit but the way to do it is not to prostitute yourself more it is to recognise the problem and stop and work hard to build a new life.

Posted by wiseman | Report as abusive
 

Stop aid to Africa? Here’s an opinion from the U.S.:Well, I have seen first hand, in the U.S., what hand-outs will do to those who do NOT want to work. Welfare in the U.S. is a hand-out, for sure, mostly it seems to encourage those who are lazy to keep their hands out for more money, food stamps, and to continue having babies. Some in the welfare system are wise enough to see the trap and actively seek to improve themselves in any way they can and leave welfare behind.Now, with an entire continent in dire need of economic repair, I do believe that microfinancing is a self-directed way of breaking the chains that bind the recipient of welfare/aid and of becoming self-reliant and moving on with one’s life. The individual/family will start a business, hopefully be able to feed themselves and send their kids to school all while building their business and gaining business skills at the same time! Microfinancing is ingenius; it is a temporary loan which must be paid back – unlike continued welfare/aid, which only encourages economic and psychological dependency.All the points made above are valid and interesting. I think aid is necessary, however, in times of immediate danger, such as the horrific crimes and destroying of villages in Darfur and The Congo. These atrocities are absolutely abhorrent. It is amazing to me that all the countries in the world cannot find (!) the money, labor, helicopters, food, clean water, etc. to give to these people in dire need, let along protection in the form of U.N. troops (?). The janjaweed and others are slaughtering many people weekly and have been for years, and while I approve of microfinancing, I do think aid is absolutely critical in dire circumstances like Darfur and The Congo.Why is Africa so corrupt (not unlike Bush/Cheney – but I digress). It seems to me that continually giving aid to corrupt governments rewards their behavior. Duh!Perhaps the manner in which aid is given is the issue. Microfinancing reaches people directly and bypasses corrupt government/bureaucracy/officials. Microfinancing seems so brilliant and obvious for the people of Africa and elsewhere.Cheers all. And more folks from Africa, keep writing in (what does the “average American” really know in the U.S. about Africa but what we hear/read in the news anyway)?Peace all.

Posted by r | Report as abusive
 

I agree with Dambisa Moyo. I think outright charity whether at an individual level, or national level, only makes people dependent, and effectively hinders their growth. The only way to help the African countries would be to give them the African people opportunities to grow. If the western countries really want to help, they should offer more scholarships to African children in western schools and universities. The Job market in other countries should be more open towards African immigrants, and financing should be available to African entrepreneurs. Probably, the western governments can offer more incentives to businesses which setup operations in the African continent. They should be helped by giving them work and not throwing alms at them.

Posted by Yajur | Report as abusive
 

All those here saying that Africa can do without aid are naïve in the extreme. To say so plays into the hands of those who would like to wash their hands of Africa entirely. Imagine if the amounts that are being spent on saving banks could be spent in Africa now. It would go a long way to end poverty and disease.

Posted by Andy Hibbert | Report as abusive
 

i dont think aid should stop . but that each contributing government should do projects of bussiness land improvment dig wells aid in farm equipment building supplies for houses roads and elictricity. do not give money but products and services over seen by a public notice from a trusted news sorce. if these things were done in ernest improvement and learning would follow .

 

I somewhat agree with some of the arguments. But the problem in Sub-Saharan Africa is investment. Where the investments will come from? The west does not want to invest in the region, because of its instability. Coming from Colonization, westerner’s investments would just be like another form of colonization, and this time it will be a financial one at first, then it will move to political. The cycle will restart again. That is why, Chinese investments are creating frictions in some of Europeans capitals. Let be honest, SSA needs investments, but where the capitals will come from?

 

Every so often, the rich in the west trot out a token African to make some such argument; one which coincidentally concedes exactly with the Free Market absolutism which passes for macroeconomic theory on Wall Street. One which concedes exactly with the enrichment of the richest Western interests. Such theories have led to to destruction of African civilization, from the commercial slave trade to mercantile colonialism to full blown imperialism to neocolonialism. Farmers in West Africa today live in an economic system in which their food crops have been undersold for 40 years by subsidized American exports, and now are driven into wild fluctuations of price by the Western Commodity Market speculation.That we should now listen to the deep thinkers who brought us the deregulatory causes of our current financial crisis when it comes to sending meager food supplements to the poorest nations of the world is either absurd or simply evil.

 

I absolutely agree with Moyo. One more reason why we Africans are very poor is our selfishness and lack of a strong will. We chose to have 2 to 3 wives and 20 to 30 children just because we want a large farm.Why not employ people from the comunity and pay them to do our work rather than use and abuse our children on these farms.We are so weak that we prefer to rely on the west for everything.Have you ever imagined Africa Without the West.And yet we say we are independent.Only we Africans can save the continent. We do not need the West since we have abundant natural resources, We must all wake up and use our God-given brains!

Posted by juldeh | Report as abusive
 

We absolutely must stop aid to Africa. Let’s start to take care of some the people in this country. We are going through some hard times right now and we should keep all aid over here.

Posted by John | Report as abusive
 

I am from Ethiopia .i am 24 and i got my B.A in economics.i feel the same that those westerners should not be giving money to africa.it is just forcing us to stay in vicious circle of poverty.because:-most of the time this money will not be put in to developmental projects but to protect the government onpower.only small fraction of it will be used for funding development.-it has tought africans the spirit of dependency;not todepend on themselves and look around so that they can come up with more creative way of funding their own developmental projects.some times, it is only when you run out of help around you that you will start searching your abilities deep inside.Thank You!

Posted by jjiksa | Report as abusive
 

I get so much irked when I hear African leaders beg for aid money rather than exploring trade avenues with the rest of the world. It’s important for Africa to realise that the continent will never prosper through aid.My experience particularly in Tanzania where I live is that aid money is always swindled by greedy civil servants at the expense of poor people. That means most of aid money ends in the hands of these guys,knowing that donors will give more money even when it is evident that the money is abused. I had an opportunity to attend a high level meeting on Africa needs at the UNHQ and I was pissed off to hear African leaders condemning developed nation for not giving them enough aid. I have read books on African problems, interviewed world leaders and thought so hard about African problems and my conclusion is that nobody does the right thing when it comes to solving Africa problems. It could be that African politicians and policy makers stopped thinking long time ago.

Posted by Erick Kabendera | Report as abusive
 

Yes.the Africa continent has for long be reliant on foreign aid which has indeed killed the economic creativity of its leader and breed corruption in high place.it will be indeed good if such aid we be directed into infastructural development and manage by the aid providers not the state government.

Posted by Roman oluchukwu okontah | Report as abusive
 

Africa does not need anymore aid. Its this aid that has retarded growth in most of the continent. As an Media person I have increasingly seen how information and use of technology can reshape the lives of people. Take the example of Mobile Money transfer; before the product only 6 million Kenyans had bank accounts. Now a year later over 5 million mostly un-bankable kenyans are transfering money around the country with new services and products mushrooming. Now even gorvenment is thinking of using the service.All africa needs is not sympathy but level playing ground to trade, get information for its fast growing and curious youth. 8 years ago westerners were asking what possible use would africans need a mobile food. well now I not only pay my bills with it, I can get the best prices for my product and where it can be sold fast

 

You are so very right Moyo…”Africa needs TRADE and not AID”! Aid facilitates total dependency and by that notion underdevelopment, corruption, poverty and brain decay! Look all around the continent and pick a nation, all you see is brain drain or brain decay. African countries have sufficient arable land to promote agriculture, several intellectual professionals whether trained in or outside the continent, mineral resources, oil wells and conducive climatic conditions that can set the African Continent into harmony!

 

Here again. Giving money is not the issue. How it is given, debt payment structure, interest rate and so forth are the issues. Believe it or not, its not just a debt, because it comes with conditions or strings attached to it. Yes of course accountability is the key, and corruption is the reason why we are lagging behind. Aid, Debt and the likes are what SSA can use as a starting point, requiring a new leadership in the region. Not just the dancing, celebrations, and speeches that are common practice in the region. A change and a radical change is what we need.

 

Paying the interest on debt by developing countries tends to be more than the aid they receive. The best way to help developing countries is cancel their debt, and if future loans must be made to them, to make those loans interest free.

Posted by Mabon Dane | Report as abusive
 

We should continue to give money but put it into better resources instead of the african governments. http://www.mnlakeplace.com

 

To John: stop aid to Africa and keep it here (the U.S., I presume)? You have got to be kidding-certainly not for those suffering in Sudan and The Congo! Africa is imploding because of exploitation so succinctly put by Thomas Miles and many who wrote in their comments. Those who are starving and in need of clean water should receive it, even if we call that aid. That said, we, in the west, must teach others how to fish, so to speak, instead of giving others fish perpetually.To Carl: yes, building roads, schools, installing electricity, etc. will help enormously in Africa. I do think however, that individual Africans and communities/villages should be shown and taught how to do this themselves, building self-reliance, thereby learning skills that will serve them for generations, thereby decreasing dependency on outsiders.To Andy H: yes, we in the U.S. seem to be throwing money around in the name of bailouts, little of which the “average American” will ever see or feel the effects of. However, giving this amount of money to another country in the form of aid, I believe, will never reach the individual in need; the money will stay in corrupt hands while the people literally starve to death, as is happening now, and has been for decades, in Africa. The aid/money must be used constructively 1) to protect those in Darfur and The Congo, to be used in projects, ie., building water wells, pumps, roads, schools, etc., and not given, per se, to those in government. Caveats must be attached to aid, like Obama is doing now with executives in corporations-all handouts/money must be accounted for.To Yajur: “education” is quite a western ideal and one I believe, although may help African children, particularly girls, is still a western ideal. Getting a college degree does NOT mean intelligence or being well paid for one’s labor. I, for one, have a college degree and earn only about .50 cents to $1.00 more/per hour than those who do not have a college degree! Sending African people to western universities further “reduces” the African to westernization. Why not build schools in Africa? But this still reeks that thinking western ways are best. What is education? I would rather learn to build a fire, fish with a net, build huts, construct buildings by hand using local resources (mud, straw, sand – adobe style, for example), farm land, understand irrigation, install water pumps, cisterns, etc. – something practical – than get a college degree. Anyone can study electricy in college, but I would rather learn first hand how to install it in my village (if I were to live in one) than spend four years learning about electricity faraway from my village if my village needed it now. See? College degrees truyl are a very American and British form of nobility and elitism; farmers and those who labor by hand are the ones who feed and build countries. Yes, engineers and architects are needed but the rest of humanity, which is far greater in numbers, should not be dismissed because they do not have a degree! Trust me, degrees are all about elitism!To Juldeh: yes, Africans must learn to take care of themselves and their lands. I am concerned however about your comment (and many others elsewhere) about Africa’s natural resources. The entire continent of Africa has been exploited for hundreds of years because of “resources” – whether this is human (as in slavery) or “natural” – minerals, and now oil (by China, who could care less about African people; China is only in Sudan for oil). I am concerned that if Africa did choose to stop receiving aid from outsiders, that those in government in Africa will still be corrupt, and will exploit its continents natural resources nonetheless. How will this ever stop? Also, selling natural resources to westerns/China will still be done by corrupt people in Africa, who will only continue to exploit local Africans. Seems to be a perpetual cycle…Finally, reappropriating aid in the form of infrastructure and mircofinancing, holdly everyone who receives the loan, accountable, seems to be the best way to go. Giving aid to “governments” does not work, as we all can see. Africa will continue to implode until the majority of Africans stand up against exploitation and take matters into their own hands for the good of the local people.For westerners, see the excellent documentary: Taking Root, The Vision of Wangari Maathai – about one woman-and then many others – who started planting trees in the 1970′s to help bring back forests that the British destroyed in the early 1900′s when they invaded…). Wangari Maathai did not wait to receive aid to plant trees – by hand! Now, 35 million trees have been planted since the 1970′s – talk about taking matters into one’s own hands. The people of Kenya joined together to overcome many problems that outsiders/deforestation caused…. a lesson for us all!

Posted by renee | Report as abusive
 

Hi, stopping aid for afrca now is like condamning a large part of african people to death but in the other way its must be done so that african leaders can start thinking about how to feed their population because right now the only thing they know is to buy weapons to keep them long in power, they always have money to buy weapon but not to buy food. something need to be done so that one day african people can be able to produice their own foods and why not medical product as well. if only africa had to buy those aid i think most of the african country would prefere to invest their money in some key production sectors like agriculture or research to feed and keep their population in good health because they know that will boost their economy than use the money to by aid from europe or america or elsewhere.

 

The problem with Africa is not the aid that comes from the West, it is Africans (leaders or people) that can not use it to the same standard as Europe and Asia used theirs.

 

As a visitor who grew some 10 critical younger years living in Africa and as an expat for many more having the opportunity to be a part of developing African industry in some small way, through numerous regions of Africa, across varied levels of desperation… from the downward spiral of the Congo’s and Sudan’s to artificial oil enriched areas of extraction…we really must listen to this lady more carefully! Ms Moyo is way more accurate in her clinical protestations than many from the broader version of the west will likely want to hear or believe. The normal mechanisms of aid I feel aren’t really the true body of her claims or warnings…it’s the unchecked disease itself that troubles her so…she profoundly understands by the fact that she’s forever recovering that disease herself. Because aid dependence like she says …is an addiction from father to son mother to daughter…deeply imbedded like cultural DNA…. the insidious part of this addiction being its unabated development and institutionalized support for over 6 decades of routine injections from afar. None of us from outside can truly speak intelligently about the depth of this disease today. We can only speak of the death and desperation of specific and reliably revolving situations or symptoms upon which the outsiders have for decades developed and nurtured immense industry and profit in the never ending servicing of desperation. None of us not even the ones who honestly by humanitarian contact with such desperation for no profit, believing they are rightfully a little more part of the African fabric;…they all are only visiting like the rest of us who love the place and can never really get to the deepest understanding of this now-cultural and very blinded way of African existence.Ms. Moyo is possibly so accurate; the statements she makes might well suffer another routine addiction of our times,…the addiction of carefully not being read by those who could affect change if so moved to do so!

Posted by Doug | Report as abusive
 

The U.S. does not need to give Africa aid of any kind. We need to just leave them alone and let them figure out their own problems. Not only is the aid destructive but the U.S. government has too much debt to give out aid.

 

I can tell you personally how our country has become a wasteland since the fall of whites from power. They were good managers and farmers and brought wealth and prosperity and above all, enough food for all. But we were foolish and jealous of them, and like children we banished them and stole their lands, and gave the monster Mugabe the power to destroy us and our country. And is South Africa under the blacks any better? We seek refuge there and are murdered by those who should welcome us as brothers. The whites were never so cruel.I love Zimbabwe. But I weep with regrets for Rhodesia.

Posted by Solomon | Report as abusive
 

Fair trade, helping nations to develop their own entrepreneurial class, teaching people to catch fish instead of handing them out a bucketfull every once in a while, is tough: It takes life-long commitment, sacrifice of self-interest. It means raising future competitors. Whereas couple billions of dollars collected at tear-jerking concerts and donated by governments or people -who have been smart enough to exploit the opportunities provided by the eternally imperfect markets, and have played a big part in creating such non-level markets in the first place- is basically a very convenient conscience-laundering operation, which does nothing to CHANGE (yes we can?) the rules of engagement in the world marketplace.

 

From the comments from some people on this forum, I get the impression thatAfricans are regarded as helpless people and that chinese involvement in africa is “evil” and “colonial”. This is far from the truth as much of what appears in the Western media is pure exaggeration or half-truths.EDUCATION:Renee speaks about education being a “western thing”. This is not true at all. We do have a lot of good schools in Africa. In Nigeria for instance, we have numerous thousands of primary and secondary schools and 92 universities (34 privately owned, 31 state government -owned and 27 federal government-owned). Despite problems of equipment and funding in government-owned universities, we still manage to produce churn relatively good graduates. National literacy rate is 69% in Nigeria.)AFRICAN BUSINESSES:The problem here has nothing to do with “teaching Africans how to run businesses”. Africans are already an enterprising people who run businesses. In Nigeria, we have thousands of small and medium scale businesses surviving in a nation where entreprenuers have to source capital from friends and family since banks rarely loan money to ordinary people and contend with infrastructural decay. Despite the odds, many of these types of businesses have grown big and expanded to employ thousands of people. Nigeria’s Nollywood is an example of a small scale business started with personal finance in 1992 by individual entrepeneurs which has now grown into a 250 million US dollar per year industry, employing thousands of people. I am sure that there are similar examples of success in other African countries. In fact, the hold-backs african enterprises are experiencing can be traced directly to infrastructural decay in the various african nations and UNFAIR trade dealing by Western nations.CHINESE INVOLVEMENT IN AFRICA:Some people don’t understand that Chinese involvement in Africa goes beyond mere engagement of the much stereotyped “corrupt governments” in Africa (let us pretend that countries like Botswana and Ghana with relatively low corruption do not exist).At a “micro-level”, chinese involvement means that individual enterpreneurs like those in the industrial clusters of Eastern Nigeria are now able to form partnerships with their chinese counterparts who bring badly needed technical know-how and equipment at a price these [african] enterpreneurs can afford.At the “macro-level”, I welcome the official Chinese government engagement with African nations because China is willing to provide much needed infrastructure to our people in exchange for natural resources. I do not see any “colonisation” here unlike what the jealous and domineering Western nations will have us believe. In fact, I see Africa able to negogiate deals with China as equal trade partners in contrast to the master-servant trade relationship that exists between the continent and the West. It cannot be “colonisation” if China is partly funding a 400MW power station in Ghana worth 600 million dollars in exchange for 38,000 tonnes of Ghanaian cocoa beans or funding and building railways and roads in Ethiopia. Yes there are issues with Sudan, Zimbabwe and D.R. Congo, but there are at least 48 other african nations where chinese involvement is positive and welcome.CONCLUSION:African nations must continue economic engagement with China, stop asking for useless “aid” packages and ferociously wrestle the West for fair trade just like the Indians and the Brazilians do at international trade talks.

Posted by Chimaoge Okezue | Report as abusive
 

China partly funding and constructing the 400MW power station in Ghana was reported by Reuters on Sept 3, 2007 and the Ghanaian Times: http://www.newtimesonline.com/index.php? option=com_content&task=view&id=8915&Ite mid=181

Posted by Chimaoge Okezue | Report as abusive
 

Remove the blood sucking devil from the north and you will see a lot of good in Africa while making it on it’s own.

Posted by Bob West | Report as abusive
 

Western aid is a racket that is designed to benefit the donor rather than the recipient. Hence, Aficans continue to grow poorer despite the aid.What Africa needs is free and fair trade; for Western coutbries to stop putting African farmers out of business through their unfair and illegal subsidies; for Western companies to pay a fair price for African commodities….

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive
 

I have not read “Dead Aid”, but was not too surprised to read that someone who has been through Harvard, Oxford and the World Bank came out saying the things Dambisa Moyo does, in very much the same way that William Easterly says them.It’s a simplistic, and quite an attractive argument to liberal economists, yet hardly a new one. The fact that it still grabs headlines like this is testament to how ill informed we are about economics in general. People have been saying for decades that aid doesn’t work, and yet all of the successful emerging economies are aid graduates. The green revolution in Asia was the result of aid, and it allowed productivity to reach the point where there was an investable surplus.In order to reach the threshold from which they can “kick start” their economic development, purchasing power in the average sub Saharan economy has to grow by 300% per capita, and even then, there are considerable structural obstacles of which economists are all aware.Of course no one is decrying the need for fairer trade regimes, and the need for trade to be made to work for Africa, instead of for the importing countries. That, however, is no argument against foreign assistance; assistance is needed in order to make trade work more fairly, and to get those economies to the point where they can generate surpluses for trade and investment. To do that, the basics of health, education and agricultural productivity are preconditions which are not being tackled by outside investors, and cannot be adequately funded by impoverished governments.Yes there are many failures in the way that assistance is delivered and the efficiency of aid in general; but that is no argument against its existence, it is an argument against poor delivery, and no one argues for poor delivery anyway.Everyone, except those involved in it, deplores corruption. Corruption however is not the preserve of African governments, and certainly not exclusive to foreign assistance. There are plenty of people taking 20% stakes in businesses all over the world by virtue of their political position; that it is more obvious where the majority of the population have less than $2 a day to live on is not a valid argument for not trying to bring those poor above the poverty line, just as the fact that it is sometimes better concealed in more developed countries is no excuse for accepting it. Do not ignore the significant role that developed economies play in keeping developing countries exactly where they are, and the role that developed businesses play in corruption.That Africa has failed to perform since independence is a failure of aid. A failure to provide enough, consistently and of the right quality. Maybe if Dambisa Moyo was to return to Zambia and take up the challenge of bringing about development in the region, she might remember more uMunthu and tone down on some of the right wing free market ideology.

Posted by W Katondo | Report as abusive
 

I wouldn’t want to pretend that this is a very scientific evaluation of opinion on such an important subject, but significantly over half of the comments here appear to back Dambisa Moyo’s opposition to development aid. Fewer than one fifth are clearly against.

Posted by Matthew Tostevin | Report as abusive
 

As an African, I can honestly say that Western aid has killed many Africans. Western aid usually goes to the corrupt dictator, he buys weapons and suppresses human rights, kills his people, lives very rich life. Just look at Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. He has massive army yet almost every year 8 milion people need food. He is deceptive and has become overtly confident in playing the West for fools and taking their money.

Posted by Baku | Report as abusive
 

Yes i totaly agreed with the lady who wrote this article.Look what happenned to Somalia for over 18 years the warlord are getting more money and there is no peace.When it come to the democraric country like my own coountry Somaliland there is no money and no aid.Please i am asking to western world to stop the money Stop the money

Posted by Ali Jama | Report as abusive
 

Its time for we African stop for waiting for handout from the west..we know how to kill eachother we have to find our own solution .

 

Stop the aid please stop. Africa don’t need any aid it need peace it is timeAfrican to thing and go foreword

Posted by bih | Report as abusive
 

You are right Dambisa, there comes a time in a nation or individual or community when economic aid is no longer a right but an option. Over 50 years we have depended on the west so much that it has developed into a chronic economic syndrome. Its time, and 2009 is a critical barometer, if Africa cannot see the tides approaching and ready herself, then the future is disastrous.

Posted by Lamech N.M | Report as abusive
 

Well, farmers in the west will be out of business and that wont be good the economies of the developed world if all of a sudden they have in hunger else where and in addition there is competetion. so Poor hurngry countries will have to thrive at the expense of thriving farmers in the developed world. It will only be when the poor specially africans find in their heart caurage and bravery to once and for all persue to develop their food production stead of being bussy on killing each other and waiting for a handout.Of course utill the likes of Mabutu are at the helm in leadership, africa’s chances of success is indeed gloomy.

 

I totaly agree with DAMBISA AID FROM WEST IS HERTING the continent big time the west care fore thier people even if takes to distroy others they brig their surpluses to distroy African farmers. they bring some thing thy call it expatrates that take $80 of evry $100 they bring as aid for salry.

 

She’s right 100%. Aid hurts more then it helps. The only people who benefit Aid corrupted African head of states. And most aid comes back to the donors one way or the other. So the African people can and have been leaving without foreign aid for centries.If those who really want to help Afirca need to directly invest on farmers, education and infrastructures.

Posted by Sada | Report as abusive
 

How increadibly short sighted are the last 8 posts !!!Is it really ONLY the corruption that eat those AID money, or are there more damaging factors ?First of all, WHERE are those corruption benefits stored ? The western banking system, especially the dark spots of FISCAL PARADISES !!!Then, some of Africa’s countries have been at war for a VERY LONG time … WHERE do they ultimately find the weapons and ammo ?Top 4 arms dealer in the world : Europe, USA, China, Russia (not sure about the order, though) … do we (Europe, US and Russia) REALLY NEED to produce those weapons (instead of focusing on way more FULFILLING activities as research and ECOLOGICAL development) ? Then, we may gradually stop AID and hoping to look ourselves in the mirror with pride..Unfortunately enough for development POSSIBILITIES, there is a BIG STOP-SIGN down the road … intellectual property (Patent laws in particular), which really came in effect only after Word War 2, a principle that makes worldwide scientific advance way more difficult than say the middle ages, as before inventing, you have to lawyer-up to the WORLD’s patents records … it definitely is a broken model in the path to a bright future !The world is in balance … unfortunately, the current state is QUITE FAR from EQUILIBRIUM !!!

Posted by John D. Rockefeller | Report as abusive
 

Aids are alms to Africa and Africans. There is a saying that goes thus: “Alms-giving encourages idleness”. I am a Yoruba from South-West Nigeria, in Yorubaland, begging for alms or recieving same is generally a sign of laziness, and therefore disgraceful. Another saying goes: “The hands of the giver stays at the top, that of the taker stays at the bottom”, this is both spiritual and psychological. Taking aids is disgracefull to Africa. It demeans. Africans are naturally hard workers. If the aids is stopped ordinary Africans will never know because it never gets to them in the first place. Secondly, the motive behind aids is to retain the Western controls over Africa and Africans. It is just like the civilisation and developmental theory of colonization, Africans was developing at their own pace before europeans came, they were civilised in their own way. The reality is that a $100 worth of aids will eventually cost Africa $1000,000 in the long run because of the in-built booby-traps. It is a method of subtle exploitation. The best thing to happen to Africa this century will be the stoppage of aids. Average Africans do not appreciate it because it holds us in servitude. It is a source of contaminants to Africa economies. Like the writer observes, it is high time we start managing what resources is available to us without the corrupting outside aids.

Posted by Kola Atolagbe | Report as abusive
 

The huge irony is this:Thirty years ago China was destitute. Then their economy started growing, and ever since then the cries and moans about them taking our jobs began. We don’t want these countries to be poor and starving, but when they start to compete with us, this is a complete no-no. In real numbers, China and India’s growth has done the most to release extremely poor people from the shackles of poverty. And what do you think will happen once Africa gets its act together? Nevermind the ecological degradation that will follow when they follow in our consumerist footsteps. Europe has always enjoyed Africa as a source of cheap labour and a dumping ground for their waste. I would posit that there are forces much more powerful than this that are keepig Africa down. Aid is a big money game, and it will not go quietly into the night.

Posted by jperly | Report as abusive
 

I agree with Dambisa and all those here who want aid cut and is it funny that all the Africans here are saying the same. The aid is not for us and it means we remain dominated for ever as beggars. We mst stand up and say no.

Posted by Albert | Report as abusive
 

It should be a felony to give food to anyone who doesn’t have access to birth control.

Posted by Kurve Ball | Report as abusive
 

Excuse me Ma’am but, what do you really know about poverty?? you belong to E-lite African community, You have no idea what it means to sleep at night with no clue about what might happen the next day to you and your family?? tell me honestly ma’am ,have you slept hungry even for one night??? i don’t think so, ,, before you come up with poor articles like this one, you have to participate in field research in Slums,witness the severity of the situation,By the way, here is a fact, if all African rich and E-lite people payed 1$ per day for poor and needy people, there will be no poverty in Africa at all, THIS IS A FACT,!! Poor Africans get aid mostly payed by ordinary western tax payers, while rich Africans use all means to skip from paying taxes. EVERY THING IN AFRICA IS WRONG. SOCIETY, GOVERNMENT AND EVEN THE MENTALITY, I’m not optimistic about the future,,!!:(:(

 

Abdirahman DIRIE,Your comment makes absolutely no sense. In 50 years of western donor aid to Africa has anything changed? It is completely false and laughable to suggest that 900 million people in Africa are surviving on the relatively small money that trickle in as donor aid from Western governments.MARSHALL PLAN VERSUS TOKEN AID:I have already said that aid-giving is a feel-good PR exercise for the West. If the West genuinely wanted to help they could start by stopping UNFAIR trade dealing and if they mUst give development aid then it should not be in dribs and drabs, they should go for a full-scale Marshall Plan like the one US government formulated for war-devastated europe in the late 1940s.AFRICANS HELP THEMSELVES:In many african nations, most people either live off the land (i.e. cultivate crops, harvest and eat them. Please note that majority of Africa is not experiencing any famine or drought) or depend on their relatives working in the Western nations for money. Before the credit crunch, according to WORLD BANK, Africans working abroad send over 20 billion US dollars back to their relatives in the continent. In fact World Bank believed that the amount was probably above their estimates since many Africans abroad send money home through non-traditional means rather than through proper money wire transfer services offered by the likes of WESTERN UNION. (Non-traditional means include: Africans abroad bringing physical cash to relatives themselves or via trusted friends, African abroad buying vouchers that can be sent to relatives at home, etc.) By August 2008, it was estimated that Nigerians abroad had remitted close to 17.9 billion dollars to relatives at home.CONCLUSION:So what keeps most Africans alive is not western aid which hardly makes impact on ordinary people. I will readily make an exception for war-torn african nations where the aid is given directly to humanitarian agencies to feed hungry people. However since most African nations are not fighting wars, most western aid (which I assume are developmental not humanitarian aid) goes directly to African government agencies that misuse them and also to Western consultants hired to help manage the aid money.Africans are industrious people as I have noted in my earlier posts. What African nations need is to increase our economic engagement with China which is positive for most of Africa (bar sudan, zimbabwe and DR congo), repair or build new infrastructure and continue increasing private sector participation in our economies which should get more integrated at list at sub-regional level.

Posted by chimaoge okezue | Report as abusive
 

We should be rational when we are talking about the issue of aid to Africa. As every body knows Millions of people in Africa depends food Aid directly or in directly, therefore, it is not easy to say one time we should stop receiving aid from the rest of the world, which is not rational. Instead, there should be a clear plan that helps Africa to get out the policy of dependence to independence.Africa has vast lands for cultivation and rich of minerals while at the same time some countries in Africa like: Ethiopian, Somalia, Congo and Darfur (Sudan) are facing the worst humanitarian crises on earth. For example in Sudan alone there is 2million hector land for farming and yet ¼ of that land is not utilized. So, how can Africa escape these crises? Not only do we accuse those people involve the humanitarian work but also our leaders, recently the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, was accused of misusing and diverting million of Dollars to Armies instead of his starving people. In Somalia, TFG officials frequently obstructed the delivery of humanitarian aid. … to the needy people of Somalia. more than 3.5 million of Somalis are believed to be depending on aid.On the other hand, the African economists and policy makers adopt replicated policies that don’t help Africa instead put us in deep crises, polices from the west that serve the interest of the west.As we know the world is divided into developed, developing and least developed, what do you thing if the whole world become developed? That means if every one opens his candy shop, who will buy candy? Therefore, developed countries will never allow Africa to develop.Well, with on going policies plus current corrupted African head of states, there seems no way out, except to depend on aid.

 

Another interesting new book, this time on the damage caused by corruption in Kenya, is also extremely damning on the role of those handing out development aid http://www.reuters.com/article/reutersEd ge/idUSTRE51B4UV20090212

Posted by Matthew Tostevin | Report as abusive
 

I totally with Moyo we do not need dead aid

Posted by Mahdi Muse | Report as abusive
 

Aid given to Africa actually costs lives, because it keeps corrupt and repressive regimes that would otherwise have crumpled in power. It is designed to create dependence so that Africa shall never stand on its own feet. It also makes corruption flourish, there is so many things wrong with western aid am struggling to find one single success story of the aid given to Africa. The solution is in FAIR trade for Africa and western countries should open their markets for African goods instead dumping their rubbish there.

Posted by Abdi Aadan | Report as abusive
 

From my recent travel in East Africa, I generally agree that Africa should rid the yoke of aid dependancy off its shoulder. Foreign aid I think became more of curse than blessing. Its addictive and corrosive. In my estimation only 25% or less actually reaches its intended target, the rest is looted both the by so called NGOs and the host governments. It also distorts local markets, especiall the foot market which in turn perpertuates hunger and proverty!There are extremes cases such droughts and displaced people due to civil wars that should be exception and temporary, but the rest of it, africa will be healthier, stabler, more efficient, less corrupt, more self-relient place without foreign aid. Africans have to look out for themselves and decide what’s constructive toward the development of their nations and continent.

Posted by Shabeel | Report as abusive
 

I also am traveling in Africa, I’ve been from Cape Town through Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and now Kenya.In Zambia, the Government doesn’t build a road or lift a finger unless foreign aid pays for it.It’s ridiculous, Africa’s bureaucrats and leaders now tax their people, do nothing for them and keep the place looking poor so they can continue to get loads of aid.East Africa has fertile soils, abundant fresh water and loads of natural resources.There is no excuse for it still to be on the aid handouts and a bit of tough love would be good for a change.There is plenty of money in Africa it is just badly distributed – see Robert Mugabe.If the West cuts off the aid, the people will be forced to demand change from their leaders – a bit of domestic reorganisation will help this continent in the long term far more than aid.Aid just fosters the corruption and patchy roll out of services. It’s a disgrace. Such a land should be flowing with riches. I don’t want a single dollar of my taxes going into this continent unless it is in a temporary response to some one-off crisis like a flood.

Posted by Traveler | Report as abusive
 

It seems many of the ordinary Africans have the same view about the an Ending AID that our beautiful continent recieves from the West; It is a way to keep Africans lazy, and on their knees all the time. Let the west keep their AID to themselves, we Africans don’t need it. As the writer said the AID packages only go to rich bastards who call themselves leaders and they would be the ones to feel it when it’s gone but not me and my fellow Africans. I hope many people will understand what I mean. It is time the Africans believed in themselves…

Posted by shuaib | Report as abusive
 

I absolutely agree with the author that it is time to say NO AID at all means. Africa should rely on itsself. Because aid blocks development. It creates corruption.In africa,there are all tools to use for development such as manpower,know-how,raw materials,good climate, technology and as well capital. The latter maybe questional,but there is goog reason to beleive,it is there.

Posted by Said W. | Report as abusive
 

I agree with Dambisa Moyo. Africa always turn the West for solutions to its problems ingnoring all the oppotunities and all things that can help on the continent. Not all is bad in Africa. Our weakenesses must be our strenghs.Having said this, I would like to let you know there is an experience of good governance and democracy in West Africa that many are not aware of. Benin is on the african countries that are doing well economically, politically and socially despite the crisis.To find out Benin, you may go to my blogs : http://beninpolitics.spaces.live.com/def ault.aspx orhttp://benin-politics.blogspot.com/Tha nks.

 

What are all you guys talking about!!!? Come down here and live with us then you’ll shut up. Much as I absolutely HATE AID and dependency, we need it, period. If only to stave off mass starvation and unrest. There would be violence on a a scale you can only begin to imagine if for example food AID and other types of AID was withdrawn. The situation here is COMPLEX…no easy solutions, no pithy little slogans will solve the problem.I’ve seen a lot of unheralded NGOs and individuals do marvelous work. If AID sends one (JUST ONE) kid to school, I don’t care, thats one saved, thats good enough for me. Dont give me your economic calculus. I shudder when I hear quotes like “Freeze AID and then the populace will be FORCED to DEMAND services from the government”!?? What you mean is we will slaughter ourselves in a bloody never ending revolution for the remaining resources.I hear people saying “Trade not AID” absolutely – BUT here’s the irony, we need the Development AID to develop the institutions and capacity to actually do the Trade! And who out there in the west dares to mention TRADE without shameful blushes? Those of you “traveling” or have “traveled” through these parts…how dare you mention trade? Skewed terms of trade are the 3 Billion Dollar subsidy question – your farmers subsidies distorts world trade in the only areas we would have some competitive or comparative advantage – EU and USA both – all guilty – We receive less development AID than all your needy greedy farmers, a mere 5% or less of the population – condemning 832 million of us to gratefully receive your AID. We’ll take it thank you very much, if only to live one more day…I’ll take it for my kids, and the hope of a future.We NEED AID, WE NEED More of it, we need more of other things too, science, technology, knowledge, skills, we need a massive airlift of our young to western and eastern academies to learn, we need MORE western interference in our affairs not less…We need regime change NOW in Zimbabwe…cmon step up, don’t half meddle, come in and meddle with a purpose and with some spine…WE NEED YOU, HELP US, and I aint too proud to beg and will not look a gift horse in the mouth….I’m Kaume Marambii, am an African, I’m proud but I’m pragmatic too. My email is kaume@yahoo.com, feel free to spam me, but I speak my truth. I’m an African, I’ve lived here all my 39 years, have studied here and expect to die here. lets get real. Lets appreciate complexity and avoid sweeping dramatic statements that aim to simplify a v v complex situation.

Posted by Kaume | Report as abusive
 

Before Africans say aid hurts Africa more than it helps due to mostly corruption and bad management both internally and externally, let us just think about one of the main factors that lead to corrupted leaders in the first place.How many Africans in the West or in the Africa provide moral and financial support to corrupted leaders from their own tribes and clans? Unless Africans, both educated and uneducated whatever that means, realize the role they play in perpetuating this corrupted systems, starting with each individual, Africans will not be able to fully overcame the negative and unintended consequences of aid. The onus is on educated Africans, the primary source of corruption and mismanagement.

Posted by AE of Free State | Report as abusive
 

It is good how this smart girl analyed how aftican,s are passive and i agree her seggestionskeep to that point other Africans also must thing like that

 

…rather than an outright cancellation of it,A gradual withdrawal of Aid may also be considered…as an absolute withdrawal might be disastrous. Foreign aids should not be routed through African governments, they should be tied to infrastructural development and Multi – Phased projects and organizations that are transparent and accountable.

Posted by Tolu Popoola | Report as abusive
 

AE of Free State,Your statement is ignorant. Most Africans living in the West send money to their poor relatives back in Africa not to what you stereotypically term “corrupted leaders from their own tribes and clans”Before the credit crunch, according to WORLD BANK, Africans working abroad send over 20 billion US dollars back to their relatives in the continent.

Posted by chimaoge okezue | Report as abusive
 

It is quite easy to say stop aid when one is outside the country and doing quite well for oneself. Dambisa Moyo holds a PhD in Economics from Oxford University and a Masters from Harvard. Now not all Africans are so “blessed” as to have the funds to study at these top universities and then spout useless nonsense. While I do agree that Africa needs more open export markets, Africa is not the only continent that obtain aid from Bretton Woods (World Bank, IMF, WTO) group. The aid that goes to Africa is nominal at best. Aid is not the problem, our leaders are. Our leaders go to international summits and instead of putting Africa’s interest forward, they go shopping, or worse (see photo).The Question from the NY Times: What do you think has held back Africans?Ms. Moyo’s answer: I believe it’s largely aid. You get the corruption — historically, leaders have stolen the money without penalty — and you get the dependency, which kills entrepreneurship. You also disenfranchise African citizens, because the government is beholden to foreign donors and not accountable to its people.My reply:And whose fault is that? We get the leaders we deserve. If we were to put in competent and capable leaders and demand accountability, our leaders would be beholden to us. Massive aid was given to European countries after the War but the leaders knew that their first obligation was to their people. African leaders seem to have no such obligation. To put it simply, if you are given $5.00 for the purpose of buying your mom a gift, and then you spend the money on yourself, the $5.00 is not the problem, you are. You have not used it for its intended purpose. Do you now turn around and blame the person who gave you the $5.oo? Does your mom now blame that person as well?Here is another example (my apologies to the Ghanaians):Ghana won its independence in 1957, the same year as Malaysia. In the 1950s both countries were on an economic par – equally poor and equally dependent on the export of raw materials. Today, Ghanaians get by on an average of about $300 per year, while Malaysians earn over $3,000. Ghana is still exporting raw products like cocoa and gold, Malaysia makes its own cars and boasts skyscrapers that rival anything in New York or London. The development of one product – palm oil – tells part of the story. Ghana grows and processes the rich red oil to make soap and cooking. Malaysia – which imported its first palm oil trees from west Africa in the 1950s – has not only become the largest palm oil producer in the world, but has also developed a high-tech industry which makes sophisticated chemicals and food additives from the raw berries. The recently retired Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr Mahathir Mohamad puts it best:”Political stability is extremely important. Without political stability there can be no economic development. People are not going to put money into a place where there is no certainty”.The Malaysian state had established a solid framework of laws that allowed entrepreneurs to flourish. And the lack of such institutional framework is Africa’s problem, not aid.The New York Times question: Why didn’t you get a bond issue going in your native Zambia or other African countries?Ms. Moyo’s reply: Many politicians seem to have a lazy muscle. Issuing a bond would require that the president and the cabinet ministers go out and market their country. Why would they do that when they can just call up the World Bank and say, “Can I please have some money?”My reply:And pray tell who would buy bonds in a country that is not stable? This is business, not philantrophy. Buying bonds require security something that most of our governments seem to be unable or unwilling to provide.

Posted by J. Sayegh | Report as abusive
 

It is obvious that leaders of Africa are thugs and lack the responsibility of what they stand for. thus Aid to Africa has given strength to HOO HAA leaders who lack humanity and understanding of the position they hold for the people they said they represent. this has also spoiled the hope of getting statesmen leaders among the african community who i believe can serve the intrest of the people of Africa with honest and transparency.However, on the other side it is clear that members of the UN failed to stand firm of what they believe by only presenting the UN horse shoe like table issues that do not represent the real need of the Africans. Africa is continent that need economic and political support that can lead to a better change for good therefore the UN should focus on issues that can make real change for the africansI believe it is the time that UN re defines its policy to africa and stop the aid that goes to regimes and governments that lack transparency or otherwise hurts the people it said will benefit. the permanent members should also stop using VETO when the UN tries to intervene genocides committed by those fattened by the aid given by the UN.ciilow

Posted by CIILOW | Report as abusive
 

I support Moyo’s analysis. Western Aid has not worked for Africa. Look at Uganda. 20 years ago, we had passable roads, railway line, schools, parastatal bodies, all regulated by different levels of government. Today, I am not sure I know what we have. For roads, we have streaks of gravel here and there with gaping holes in and around. The railway line and all parastatals were sold off to the highest bidders. The well-to-dos work for NGOs with no incentive of creating their own work. The government is waiting for Aid from the West to build roads!!!

Posted by Naki | Report as abusive
 

I came to this conclusion many years ago after having worked in both sub-Saharan Africa and Asia with bi-lateral and multinational donor organizations for several years. What Dambisa Moyo has said was actually over due. I think whatever little aid that trickles down to people, damages and even kills local initiative and insults self-respect and dignity of the population. Often foreign aid comes with agenda that may or may not meet people’s critical needs.Governments in poor countries are almost assured of timely financial assistance from one source or the other from donors and multi-national financial institutions, when going gets tough. This almost works as a disincentive for governments to try harder to stand on their own feet, and take necessary but politically unpopular decisions.I feel instead of giving aid and grants to poor countries, rich countries should give a better deal for commodities, products and services to these countries. Unlike the current practicing of giving bizarre concessions, it should be the role of governments in poor countries, to ensure better wages, benefits and work guarantees from multinationals. They should insist on charging higher rates for their commodities and raw materials, and don’t be cowed down by “international trade and pricing” policies, which can easily be maneuvered and tweaked by rich nations. If need be, they should follow example of oil cartel for every item of trade. By doing so, money will go to common man and women through trade, commerce and manufacturing jobs. It will do away with opportunities for governments to mismanage and squander funds. Rich countries can use the same aid money to subsidize imports for which they will be paying reasonable prices abroad.Such a policy, we may call ‘Global Fair Deal’ will rapidly raise standards of living and eliminate poverty in poor countries. It will eventually have a beneficial effect on governance too. Most importantly poor countries, thereafter, will not be begging for foreign aid but earning an honorable living with dignity. This will result into a true new world order where each country will stand as equal among nations. Is this something we want? This can only happen if the third world gets effectively united. And why not?Javed

Posted by Javed Ahmad | Report as abusive
 

The reason why Africa has needed so much aid for so long is because they have NOT gotten a fair deal in global trade.Western and Eastern nations have engaged in bribery for decades so that they can get cheaper goods from and entry into African markets. If the developed nations are serious about economic development in Africa then they need to prosecute and judge those corporations and financial entities that engage in bribery. That’s what the developed nations should do on THEIR end.For the African people the only thing they can do is hold their political leaders accountable.

Posted by Tarik73 | Report as abusive
 

I can in some way be grateful to countries that have been using their finances and talents to give aid to Africa. But we all agreed that the stragegy has not worked well for the continent of Africa over the years.What is needed is for Africa to be seen and treated a partner in the globalization process by opening up global markets, especailly western markets to African products and services. Money that has been given to corrupt officials, most now be set aside for innovative and creative African individuals and institutions that will creat more opportunies for the ordiniary people to have employments, and earn incomes that will eventually eliminate the need for aid or handout to the continent and its people. People love to be empowered! Aid had eliminated that opportunity for Africa and its people!

Posted by Sylvester S. Yarpah | Report as abusive
 

Africa’s problem is not it’s people buts it’s leader. There’s a new generation of African leaders soon to rise and it will Starts With a new AU voted in for the people by the people. Dambisa is doing a great job{PERIOD} I’ll be glad to help however I can and I do recommend DEAD AID to any difference maker . I have a vision for a United States Of Africa and am not the only one, This makes me hopeful , Let’s stay charged in the fight for the change we need in africa.- Sallah* Myspace.com/dsallah

 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •