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Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa [Paperback]

Dambisa Moyo , Niall Ferguson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 2, 2010 0374532125 978-0374532123 1 Reprint

A national bestseller, Dead Aid unflinchingly confronts one of the greatest myths of our time: that billions of dollars in aid sent from wealthy countries to developing African nations has helped to reduce poverty and increase growth. In fact, poverty levels continue to escalate and growth rates have steadily declined—and millions continue to suffer. Debunking the current model of international aid promoted by both Hollywood celebrities and policy makers, Dambisa Moyo offers a bold new road map for financing development of the world’s poorest countries.

Much debated in the United States and the United Kingdom on publication, Dead Aid is an unsettling yet optimistic work, a powerful challenge to the assumptions and arguments that support a profoundly misguided development policy in Africa. And it is a clarion call to a new, more hopeful vision of how to address the desperate poverty that plagues millions.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this important analysis of the past fifty years of international (largely American) aid to Africa, economist and former World Bank consultant Moyo, a native of Zambia, prescribes a tough dose of medicine: stopping the tide of money that, however well-intentioned, only promotes corruption in government and dependence in citizens. With a global perspective and on-the-ground details, Moyo reveals that aid is often diverted to the coffers of cruel despotisms, and occasionally conflicts outright with the interests of citizens-free mosquito nets, for instance, killing the market for the native who sells them. In its place, Moyo advocates a smarter, though admittedly more difficult, policy of investment that has already worked to grow the economies of poor countries like Argentina and Brazil. Moyo writes with a general audience in mind, and doesn't hesitate to slow down and explain the intricacies of, say, the bond market. This is a brief, accessible look at the goals and reasons behind anti-aid advocates, with a hopeful outlook and a respectful attitude for the well-being and good faith of all involved.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Economist Moyo (former head, Economic Research and Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa, Goldman Sachs) makes a startling assertion: charitable aid to African nations is not just ineffective—it is worse than no aid. Moyo, who was born and raised in Zambia, joins a small but growing number of observers (including microfinance expert Muhammad Yunnus) who argue that charity from Western nations cripples African governments by fostering dependency and corruption without requiring positive change. Deriding efforts to increase giving by foreign celebrities like U2 singer Bono as out of touch with the real needs of African countries, Moyo instead proposes solutions like new bond markets, microfinancing, and revised property laws. Moyo also singles out commercial investment from the Chinese (rather than general aid) and holds it up as an example for other nations to follow in the future. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Moyo's argument for such capitalist intervention in Africa, this straightforward and readable work should provide some food for thought.—April Younglove, Linfield Coll. Lib., Portland, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1 Reprint edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374532125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374532123
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Dambisa Moyo is an international economist who writes on the macroeconomy and global affairs.

She is the author of the New York Times Bestsellers "Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa", "How The West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly - And the Stark Choices Ahead" and "Winner Take All: China's Race for Resources and What It Means for the World".

Ms. Moyo was named by Time Magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World", and was named to the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders Forum. Her work regularly appears in economic and finance-related publications such as the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.

She completed a doctorate in Economics at Oxford University and holds a Masters degree from Harvard University. She completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and an MBA in Finance at the American University in Washington D.C..

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
88 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Credible and Insightful! March 21, 2009
Over the past 60 years at least $1 trillion in aid was sent to Africa - yet, calls for even more grow steadily louder. Moyo - a native of Zambia, contends that evidence demonstrates that this aid has made the poor poorer. Real per-capita income today is lower than it was in the 1970s. In other words, aid is not part of the solution, it is part of the problem.

Even after aggressive debt-relief campaigns in the 1990s, African countries still pay close to $20 billion in debt repayments per year - at the expense of education and health care. Moyo also asserts that the roughly 500,000 individuals in the "aid business" have no motivation for that aid to succeed; meanwhile, well-meaning individuals such as Bono have choked off debate of its efficacy.

The author claims that the most obvious criticism of aid is that it enables rampant corruption and bloated bureaucracies. In 2002, the African Union, an organization of African nations, estimated that corruption was costing $150 billion/year. Transparency International, a corruption watchdog, states that Zaire's former president is reputed to have stolen at least $5 billion from the country. Across Africa, over 70% of government funding comes from foreign aid - enabling those governments to avoid accountability to local citizens since they pay so little.

In Cameroon, it takes a potential investor about 426 days to gain a business license, vs. 17 in South Korea. Under the auspices of the U.S. Food for Peace program, each year millions are used to buy American-grown food that is then shipped to Africa where it puts local farmers out of business.

Moyo's bottom-line is that other regions should stop the largess towards Africa, and Africa should focus on becoming more attractive to private investment. This includes ceasing to be the source of the world's greatest number of armed conflicts.
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223 of 276 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dead Aid Not Quite Dead On April 2, 2009
Dead Aid is an interesting, provocative look at the foreign aid industry and its effects on Africa. Dambisa Moyo, who formerly worked for Goldman Sachs and the World Bank, draws a conclusion not unknown to others in the field: development aid (as differentiated from humanitarian aid) has not only done little good for the nations of Africa but has indeed caused great harm. While I don't necessarily disagree with her conclusion, I didn't find her arguments particularly convincing.

There is no question that much of the aid intended to build economies in Africa has been grossly wasted, stolen, and misused. There is little to show for the trillions of dollars that have been poured into the continent--a failure with numerous causes. But Moyo's main premise is that aid itself is the cause, that it creates a culture dependent on foreign handouts and rife with corruption that, according to the author, apparently wouldn't exist if aid weren't available. I find both arguments hard to swallow, especially since they are based mostly on the logical premise of cum hoc ergo propter hoc (with this, therefore because of this). In this thinking, when aid is given, the recipients don't develop other resources, therefore aid causes them to not try. It's the same argument that's been used for years to oppose welfare programs applied in this instance not to individuals, but to entire nations. I find that a little facile. I suspect aid fails more often because it is poorly structured and managed, an argument that Moyo essentially dismisses out of hand.

Whether you agree with Moyo's reasoning or not, you have to seriously question the solutions she proposes.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rigor and conviction February 20, 2009
As I was not aware of the Aid programs bias and problems. I always complied with the current and unique trend: "Send more Monies to Africa. It will solve all of their problems". This book brought me a brand new look at the Aid system and to discover why it does not always work.

With Passion and Rigor Ms Moyo brings a lot of numbers and facts to the table. She also brings solutions and tools that may work in the future.

Sometimes, I was lost in numbers and redundant affirmations as some points are obvious from the beginning. I have to admit, I skipped some pages.

I learned a lot and this book allowed me to better understand the situation. Glad I read it
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DEAD AID IS AFRICA'S ALBATROSS November 23, 2010
By Vakunta
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dambisa Moyo's masterpiece is an economic blueprint intended to serve as a paradigm for weaning Africa off the debilitating aid-dependency syndrome that has kept the continent in perpetual economic stagnancy for decades. Using dependable statistics, Moyo argues that government-to-government or bilateral aid (which should be distinguished from charity-based aid) to Africa undermines the ability of Africans to conceptualize their own best economic and political policies. As she puts it: "The net result of aid-dependency is that instead of having a functioning Africa, managed by Africans, for Africans, what is left is one where outsiders attempt to map its destiny and call the shots."(66) Foreign aid does not only undermine economic growth, it keeps recipient countries in a state of endemic poverty. It is itself an underlying cause of social unrest and possibly even civil war.

Moyo notes that the "prospect of seizing power and gaining access to unlimited aid wealth is irresistible."(59) To buttress her argument, she refers to Grossman (1992) who contends that the underlying purpose of rebellion is the capture of the state for financial advantage, and that aid makes such conflict more likely. In the past fifty years, Moyo observes, over US$1trillion in development-related aid has been transferred from the rich countries of the West to Africa. Yet, aid has helped make the poor poorer; economic growth slower.

According to Moyo, the notion that foreign aid can alleviate systemic poverty, and has done so in Africa is tantamount to a myth. Millions in Africa, she notes, are poorer today on account of aid dependency. Indeed, aid has been and continues to be, an unmitigated political and economic and humanitarian disaster for Africa. Aid is not benign--it is malignant.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love the book and it is really in good shape ...
I love the book and it is really in good shape like new but delivery was late by 4 days
Published 5 days ago by Tewodros Ayalew
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead Aid
Great book and an awesome read for anyone who is interested in developing countries. Dr. Moyo speaks with the authority that an outsider never could. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jake Iselin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great African perspective
I have read several books on this topic and this one really stands out because it has an African perspective and it does not just cover economic theory, but actual issues.
Published 1 month ago by Roxanne
2.0 out of 5 stars My Opinion about Dead Aid
Too much exaggeration on how aid affects Africa. Weather we like it or not, aid is one form of capital that has outside source. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gashu Habte
4.0 out of 5 stars Took too long to deliver
The book was great but delivery took over 2 weeks from New Jersey (I'm in NY) and I had a report due. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Patrick J. Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead Aid
It paints a good picture on the effects of different policies implemented and it'd effects. A Good work, Kudos moyo!
Published 4 months ago by Oliver k Kamar
3.0 out of 5 stars Eliminate Aid or Reform It?
This highly educated African woman dives into the heart (appropriate for a Moyo) of the aid predicament and her provocations serve the purpose of stirring up much useful debate on... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Baobab (Ouagadougou)
4.0 out of 5 stars Important book
Great transferable information in first half of book. Gets a little deep for the person not versed in the world finances but a very good read on why government aid is not working.
Published 5 months ago by LynnKeener
5.0 out of 5 stars Plain talk from a Ph.d.
Caution should precede any "gift" to "Africa." Moyo slaughters all of the giving industrial complex sacred cows. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dennis
4.0 out of 5 stars An African viewpoint
A very smart African woman explains a lot. If you are interested in the reasons for the mess in Africa, this is illuminating, though not quite explicatory, in that there is little... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Shirley Sacks
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