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

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Macmillan, Mar 17, 2009 - Political Science - 188 pages
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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.


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Dead aid: why aid is not working and how there is a better way for Africa

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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 ... Read full review

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In ‘Dead Aid’, the author, Dambisa Moyo, a former consultant at the World Bank, dispels the archaic political and social beliefs surrounding the effectiveness of African aid programs. Often regarded as taboo within the international economic community, corruption and the gross misappropriation of billions of dollars in aid by African governments have led many to question whether aid should continue. In the book, Moyo provides an expert analysis of an economic and developmental quagmire created from a cultural dependency on aid, and offers in depth solutions to mitigate and ultimately overcome decades of regression.
Moyo boldly asserts that rather than relying on aid--an economic nostrum which has failed to produce any sustainable development and has only helped to foster corrupt bureaucracy--African nations should instead seek foreign direct investment (FDI). Among the many solutions offered, Moyo advocates for the utilization of alternative efforts such as the Grameen Bank model, an award winning microfinance organization which makes small loans to the impoverished without requiring collateral, as a potential vehicle to overcoming some of Africa’s many obstacles to economic development.
As an outsider with the purview of most Americans, I believe that if implemented the ideas in this book could produce many positive ramifications for the African contintent. However, until they are implemented in Africa on a suitable scale and found to be efficacious and sustainable, they remain just ideas.

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About the author (2009)

Dambisa Moyo is the author of How the West Was Lost. Born and raised in Lusaka, Zambia, Moyo completed a Ph.D. in economics at Oxford University and holds a master's from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She worked for the World Bank as a consultant, and also worked at Goldman Sachs for eight years. In 2009, Time magazine named her one of the “100 most influential people in the world.” Her writing frequently appears in publications including the Financial Times, The Economist, and The Wall Street Journal.

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