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Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How…
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Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa (2009)

by Dambisa Moyo

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she gives a concise critique of global aid, with interesting examples. It's very easy to read.


Examples and cases are analysed in a scientific and thorough way.


The statement is challenging and brought with good faith and backed up with good work. If not make you see things completely differently like it claims, it can add a perspective to many cases.

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It is not realistic to end development aid in short term because it is a very huge and complex reality. This main message is thoroughly repeated and too simple.

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The book was expensive: 23euro = 30 dollars for a small/medium book.

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As a phd in economy the writer knows how to market stuff, even books.. : a simple style, an enthousiast and clear message, a controversial topic, etc ( )
  ToonC | Aug 19, 2014 |
"To be honest, I could've done with a different organization scheme"
read more: http://likeiamfeasting.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/dead-aid-dambisa-moyo.html ( )
  mongoosenamedt | Apr 16, 2013 |
I recently found myself describing this book as "the literary equivalent of tasing Bono." More or less apt, although actually tasing Bono would be more fun.

Anyway: okay, I'm more or less convinced. Moyo makes a convincing case that aid is not helping in Africa. It fosters corruption, with billions of unsupervised dollars up for grabs, and it destroys local economies, keeping Africa in a state of helplessness. Moyo loses me a bit on the solutions end; when she talks about the international bond market, I...well, I don't really know what that means and she doesn't explain it well enough. (Your results may vary if you're not as dumb as me.) The general idea is that instead of waiting for handouts, Africa should join the global economy; Moyo points out that plenty of developing countries, including a few in Africa, have done that with much better results than relying on aid.

I wish she'd included a few case studies about specific countries in Africa, maybe some that have failed and some that have succeeded (at least a little)using different methods. Instead she refers repeatedly to a fictional country; why not be real? The book's only 150 pages long, it's not like she didn't have room.

But still: overall, she's made her case well.

Will it change anything? I doubt it. There's a lot of political work to make a change as radical as turning aid off, and there's Bono on the other side. China is way ahead of us here, and I think the most likely story is that Africa ends up pulling itself up with their help more than ours, with the result that Africa ends up more Chinese than Western at the end of the process. Which is...fine? I guess? ( )
1 vote AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
This book may have good ideas but the exposition is so clumsy as to weaken the arguments. Coupled with frequent confusion regarding correlation and causation (the author really should take a refresher on basic statistics) in the first four chapters, the points put forward really just aren't convincing. As a previous reviewer stated, this felt like a paper that Moyo tried to stretch into a book. It doesn't work. It may be worth following some of Dead Aid's suggestions, but this book does not make the case for them adequately. ( )
  reluctantm | Apr 17, 2012 |
Does anyone really need to be convinced that monetary aid doesn't work, and particularly doesn't work for Africa? Apparently so, because Western politicians and Western celebrities continue to send money to despots and stage ridiculous "benefit" concerts and drives to wring even more out of taxpayers. Why do they do this? I suppose they have to assuage their misplaced guilt somehow, and it's much easier to throw money at a broken system than to do the work to figure out how to make it functional. I can't know their motives, really. Maybe they honestly don't see what's right in front of them and the rest of the world: aid hasn't helped Africa. On the contrary, Moyo argues that it has severely damaged the economies and cultures and governments of those African countries that have relied upon it (some for 97% of their income).

The United States has given a trillion dollars to Africa over the past few decades, and what is there to show for it? Widespread corruption, poverty, and disease, and shrinking economies. And Moyo argues that aid is not neutral -- it hasn't simply failed to fix these problems. It has caused them. Free money rewards despots and encourages armed conflict. It discourages initiative, industry, and entrepreneurial spirit. It harms those few individuals who are working hard to better their lot -- Moyo gives the example of the African mosquito-net maker who is put out of business by the arrival of 100,000 donated nets from foreign do-gooders who purchased them from non-African manufacturers.

So, what's Moyo's better way for Africa? Free markets. Trade. Foreign Direct Investment. Micro-loans. In short, business. It's not personal guilt-driven "philanthropy" that will help Africa, in the short term or the long run. It's healthy, not-excessively-regulated business. It's already been proven that these methods work, see India and China or South Africa for examples.

I don't think Moyo's argument is perfect here, and not everything in this book is convincing. It's not terribly well-edited or well-documented, and it's not too accessible for the non-economist layman. (She does say that it's written for economists and policy-makers, not necessarily the casual reader.) But I think, generally, she's right and says things that absolutely must be said and heard. ( )
1 vote edenic | Feb 6, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Interview, not so much about the content of the book:
Dambisa Moyo is having her moment. … Moyo believes this dependency relationship is perpetuated by Western governments and glorified by the celebrities who have made Africa their cause du jour. … The question—for Moyo and for Bono, for governments and for celebrities—is not really about whether to help. It's how to help better.
added by baumgartner | editNewsWeek, Lisa Miller (Mar 30, 2009)
 
The danger is that this book will get more attention than it deserves. It has become fashionable to attack aid to Africa; an overdose of celebrity lobbying and compassion fatigue have prompted harsh critiques of what exactly aid has achieved in the past 50 years.
 
I doubt that many of Africa's problems can be attributed to aid. It is, in my view, something of a sideshow.

I think that Moyo's message is over-optimistic. She implies that, were aid cut, African governments would respond by turning to other sources of finance that would make them more accountable. I think this exaggerates the opportunity for alternative finance and underestimates the difficulties African societies face.

African societies face problems deeper than their dependence on aid. Divided by ethnic loyalties, they are too large to be nations. Yet with only tiny economies, they lack the scale to be effective states. As a result the vital public goods of security and accountability cannot adequately be provided. In their absence the valuable natural assets that many countries possess become liabilities instead of opportunities for prosperity.
 
Critics of Dambisa Moyo's Proposal Paul Collier, professor of economics at Oxford, and one of Moyo's teachers, believes that her message is overly optimistic. He suggests that donors must insist on transparent budgeting and accountability on the receiving side. African societies don't need predominantly money but help with peacekeeping,security guarantees, trade privileges and promoting good governance. Other critics fear that Moyo's harsh judgment of aid will encourage Western governments to cut back on their aid promises, while there are no other solutions in place. Whether one agrees with her argument or not, Dambisa Moyo offers an accessible summary of anti-aid arguments based on statistics and anecdotal evidence bolstered with an extensive bibliography. She deeply wishes for a better outcome on both sides: for those desperate to survive on less than a US$1 a-day in sub-Saharan Africa and those who want to help.
 
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Epigraph
To the Excellencies and officials of Europe: We suffer enormously in Africa. Help us. We have problems in Africa. We lack rights as children. We have war and illness, we lack food . . . We want to study, and we ask you to help us to study so we can be like you, in Africa.

Message found on the bodies of Guinean teenagers Yaguine Koita and Fode Tounkara, stowaways who died attempting to reach Europe in the landing gear of an airliner.
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second-best time is now.

African proverb
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For Peter Bauer
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We live in a culture of aid.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374139563, Hardcover)

In the past fifty years, more than $1 trillion in development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Has this assistance improved the lives of Africans? No. In fact, across the continent, the recipients of this aid are not better off as a result of it, but worse—much worse.

In Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo describes the state of postwar development policy in Africa today and 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. Provocatively drawing a sharp contrast between African countries that have rejected the aid route and prospered and others that have become aid-dependent and seen poverty increase, Moyo illuminates the way in which overreliance on aid has trapped developing nations in a vicious circle of aid dependency, corruption, market distortion, and further poverty, leaving them with nothing but the “need” for more aid. Debunking the current model of international aid promoted by both Hollywood celebrities and policy makers, Moyo offers a bold new road map for financing development of the world’s poorest countries that guarantees economic growth and a significant decline in poverty—without reliance on foreign aid or aid-related assistance.

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:34 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In "Dead Aid," Dambisa Moyo describes the state of postwar development policy in Africa that has channeled billions of dollars in aid but failed to reduce poverty and increase growth. He offers a new, more hopeful vision of how to address the desperate poverty that plagues millions.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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