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Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa Paperback – March 2, 2010
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“Moyo is right to raise her voice, and she should be heard if African nations and other poor countries are to move in the right direction.” ―Jagdish Bhagwati, Foreign Affairs
“Moyo presents a refreshing view.” ―Lisa Miller, Newsweek
“A tightly argued brief . . . Vivid.” ―Matthew Rees, The Wall Street Journal
“An incendiary new book . . . Here is a refreshing voice . . . What makes Dead Aid so powerful is that it's a double-barrelled shotgun of a book. With the first barrel, Moyo demolishes all the most cherished myths about aid being a good thing. But with the second, crucially, she goes on to explain what the West could be doing instead.” ―Christopher Hart, The Daily Mail
“Dambisa Moyo is to aid what Ayaan Hirsi Ali is to Islam. Here is an African woman, articulate, smart, glamorous, delivering a message of brazen political incorrectness: cut aid to Africa. Aid, she argues, has not merely failed to work; it has compounded Africa's problems. Moyo cannot be dismissed as a crank . . . She catalogues evidence, both statistical and anecdotal . . . The core of her argument is that there is a better alternative [and it deserves] to be taken seriously.” ―Paul Collier, The Independent
“The wisdom contained here--if absorbed by African and global policymakers--will turn this chronically depressed continent into an inspiring miracle of dazzling economic growth.” ―STEVE FORBES, President and Chief Executive Officer of Forbes and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine
“Dambisa Moyo makes a compelling case for a new approach in Africa. Her message is that Africa's time is now. It is time for Africans to assume full control over their economic and political destiny. Africans should grasp the many means and opportunities available to them for improving the quality of life. Dambisa is hard--perhaps too hard--on the role of aid. But her central point is indisputable. The determination of Africans, and genuine partnership between Africa and the rest of the world, is the basis for growth and development.” ―KOFI ANNAN, former Secretary-General of the United Nations
“Dead Aid is an important book . . . at the very least, [it] provides a first step towards changing how America, and the world, thinks about how to help Africa.” ―Heather Wilhelm, Real Clear World
“Dead Aid is a wonderfully liberating book.” ―Doug Bandow, The Washington Times
“[Moyo's] book offers an analytical, researched approach to restoring life and sufficiency in this developing continent. Dead Aid calls for a new way of thinking . . . After unraveling the myth created by many policymakers and celebrities that Africa simply needs more charity, Moyo poses a series of hopeful alternatives . . . Moyo speaks with both cultural and academic authority, unpacking the full nature of poverty and its regional impact. She unveils the sobering reality that $1 trillion in financial aid has not helped, but rather hindered African economies and their ability to grow into sustainable markets. This book offers a fresh insight into the plight of poverty and a vision for developmental change--the kind of change that could help millions.” ―Curt Devine, Relevant
“Dambisa Moyo's book Dead Aid is a timely book which brings forth what we have been thinking about Western aid, but did not dare to speak out . . . Moyo has shown brilliantly that Western aid, governmental or non-governmental, couldn't help Africa in regard to transforming to a better form of social organization, by which innovation and technological development become possible . . . Moyo shows the strong correlation between increasing aid dependency, corruption and the nature of government structures in many African countries . . . In general Moyo's book is a very challenging book, and addresses our problems. It confronts those aid gurus, like Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, who manipulate the African leaders with their neo-liberal agendas. It is a very good starting point for further discussion, and can contribute to eliminating confusing ideas.” ―Fekadu Bekele, Merkato Blog, Nazret.com
“A radical, counterintuitive solution to the continent's economic problems . . . [Moyo] is unequivocal, not to mention convincing.” ―Jason Zasky, Failure Magazine
“The evidence assessing the impact of aid on economic growth (or the lack thereof) is comprehensive and convincing.” ―Apoorva Shah, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
“Moyo's indictment of the past 50 years of aid-giving is compelling . . . [She] has written a well-informed book, and her passionate commitment to improving Africa's fortunes drips from every page.” ―Jonathan Wright, Geographical
About the Author
Niall Ferguson is Professor of Political and Financial History, Jesus College, Oxford.
- Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (March 2, 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0374532125
- ISBN-13 : 978-0374532123
- Item Weight : 6.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.44 x 0.53 x 8.14 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #26,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Granted, Moyo is doubtless receiving more press simply because she is a black African female giving a fairly conservative opinion of aid. Others have been saying this same thing for a long time, but it's often disregarded as an excuse for saving money or keeping help from the poor.
I live and work in Haiti, and this is completely as applicable to this country as it is to Africa, although the Chinese influence doesn't apply here.
I recommend this for all aid workers, and really anyone connected with emerging (or not) economies. Aid is a bad thing!
Of course, Moyo doesn't go quite that far, but I certainly do. She bases her findings on well documented data, and arranges it in quite an easy-to-read volume. I'm looking forward to more works by her.
Excellent source material, top-notch notes section, great index.
Moyo lays out the cycle of dysfunction on page 6: Africa is unable to get on sound economic footing. & out of 10 failed nations are in Africa.
She explains three types of aid: emergency aid; charitable aid; and systemic aid. The first two types are plagued with distribution problems and come with strings attached. But it is the thrird type that the book addresses -- aid from one government to another that results in indebtedness and economic stagnation.
On page 11, she blames Maynard Keynes. Daring! And true! And this is probably the first reason why OxFam doesn't like this book. OxFam is all excuses for the failure of African aid:
1) it's the climate. It's the terrain.
2) it's the history of colonialism
3) Africans are genetically bad
4) Africans are culturally bad.
5) There is too much diversity in Africa. Tribalism and ethnic strife breed distrust between groups and prohibit consensus on policy.
6) Africans have poor governance.
Moyo addresses each of these excuses and turns attention back to the harms done by (possibly) well-intentioned westerners offering aid to Africa.
There's a problem on page 35: Moyo promises to look at 6 proofs that aidcan work, but she delivers only four:
1) the Marshall Plan
2) IDA graduates
3) conditional aid
4) democracy-dependent aid
Chapter 9 gets into Muhammad Yunus's breakthoroughs in microfinance. For more about this, I recommend the book "Banker to the Poor."
As always, a thoroughly researched book with an air of authority that could only come from an African talking about affairs related to... Africa.
Dambisa argues that in studying the data it becomes obvious that aid, especially without an end date , does not improve any economy and never will .
In fact it has the opposite effect by promoting corruption, a lack of accountability and political wars by those jostling to be the atop of the funnel for free money.
She argues that a better way is for African governments to pursue funding from the Capital markets, drop inefficient trade barriers between each other in the continent, stimulate intra trade as the West and Europe are not our friends, see China for the friend it is and develop infrastructure.
These all require obtaining credit ratings, fiscal discipline, attempts at good governance etc. When you squander aid money, more will come next year. When you squander money obtained from issuing bonds and world investors, good luck getting more for another decade. This is the essence of this book.
You can feel how close to her heart writing this book is because , while currently a little outdated, she has noted that for too long the debate around how to fix the problems in Africa has been dominated by white Non-african males.
Time well invested...
Previous 1 star reviews fairly sums up book. I add my astonishment at Dr. Moyo's harry potter like sequels/prequels apparently being embraced by public. After 'Dead Aid' I felt that magnificent education had been hijacked by an opportunist "flimflam man (woman)". And worse for it having "validated?" such tired doublespeak for so many. Are we really this gullible?
Top reviews from other countries
Dambisa Moyo comes from Zambia but is not poor herself. She has worked for international banks and financial institutions based in the USA. It is worth searching for videos of her speaking on the internet.
While her book is easily readable and not technical, to fully understand her arguments it helps to have a very basic understanding of how price is determined by supply and demand, such as one would get from an introductory course in economics e.g. to understand how inflows of aid money to an African country can cause the value of its currency to rise and make its products less competitively priced and harder to sell in international markets.
Ms Moyo believes that aid money allows African governments to survive without needing to develop a proper tax base and therefore without a local tax-paying educated Middle Class to demand a say in how efficiently public money is spent.
She is a little cynical about the rise of 'glamour aid' based on emotional appeals by multi-millionaire Western Pop stars, who we would never think qualified to decide economic policies for our own countries.
Goods e.g. mosquito nets to prevent the spread of malaria provided free through aid while useful in themselves can drive local producers out of business.
Although Western donors can threaten to cut off aid where much of it is wasted through corruption or its benefits cancelled out by disastrous misgovernment, in practice those who administer aid are reluctant to turn off the flow of money. Too many thousands of them have jobs in foreign aid that would be threatened if aid stopped.
By contrast Chinese involvement in African development is purely self-interested but for that reason, the authoress believes, is more effective than Western do-gooders. If the Chinese, in their own interest, help to build a port and railway to speed up the movement of food and raw materials that China wants, the Chinese will not tolerate embezzlement, incompetence or disorder that disrupts this supply. Thus as incidental consequences, the local authorities will have to learn habits of honesty and reliability and local people and businesses will have the use of a new port and railway.
Such thoughts will upset do-gooders convinced that their campaigning for development aid will save the World. The authoress has had things thrown at her as well as abuse by angry members of Western audiences when she has given speeches about her ideas.
Her arguments may provide excuses for some who would be happy for racist or nationalist reasons to let starving black Africans go to Hell. That does not mean Ms Moyo is wrong, however.
She has little to say here about the legacy of the colonial Empires in Africa. I have seen a video of Dambisa Moyo speaking in which white, Western members of the audience criticise her for not putting enough blame for the current state of Africa on European colonialism. Ms Moyo replies that she is getting a little bored with blaming Colonialism for Africans' current problems, when Colonialism ended more than 50 years ago, and in the same period many Asian countries who also experienced Colonialism have prospered.
While it will be a relief for some readers that this little book is not a vast tome of exhaustive detail, others will probably say that the argument would be more convincing supported by more detailed examples. If you are of the latter view, you may prefer Paul Collier's longer, slightly less lively but still interesting 'The Bottom Billion'.
I personally prefer this book, perhaps because it confirms some of my previous suspicions.
Later in the book she points out how China has become very active in Africa. This is seen by many in the west as purly an excersize in self interest, but realistically the way the Chinese operate is giving real tangible benefits to a lot of these developning nations. Overal, I enjoyed reading this book as it trashed an awful lot of the general accepted viewpoints so popular in the western nations. I have lived and worked in several West African nations and have seen of a lot of the waste, incompentence or just outright corruption which is endemic once aid money comes pouring in.
Read this book and you will see that aid, in the present form favoured by the west, is not the massive boost so many people claim it to be, but more of a shackle holding back so many nations.