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Is Aid Good for Africa?
Dambisa Moyo

Dambisa Moyo

The world has poured aid into post-colonial Africa. And Africa remains overwhelmingly poor.

Now, one young African economist is speaking up to say, “stop the aid.” No more concerts for Africa. No more heartfelt appeals.

Dambisa Moyo — from Zambia by way of Harvard, Oxford, and Goldman Sachs — says tough market discipline is what African nations need, not handouts. She argues that the more than $1 trillion in aid that’s gone to Africa has not helped the continent, but put it on life support. Stifled entrepreneurship. Fed corruption. Made Africa’s leaders beholden to the West.

She’s been on the road with her controversial message. The pushback has been loud and strong.

This hour, On Point: We’re debating aid for Africa, with Dambisa Moyo.

You can join the conversation. Could Bono be wrong? What about Dambisa Moyo? How do you see aid to Africa?


Joining us from London is Dambisa Moyo, economist and author of the new book “Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa.” She is former head of economic research and strategy for sub-Saharan Africa at Goldman Sachs and a former World Bank consultant.

From New York we’re joined by John McArthur, chief executive of the Millennium Promise, created to help achieve the United Nation’s eight Millennium Development goals, which include cutting global poverty in half by 2015.  He oversees the Millennium Villages project, which helps more than 400,000 people in rural communities across 10 countries in Africa to become economically viable. He is also research associate at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, where he teaches at the School of International and Public Affairs.

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  • roger Berg

    Does all aid corrupt?? When I was in Namibia last year I saw a country with some infrastructure and education. I believe that capital investment and aid together could do much in Namibia.

  • EIO Boston

    All aid does not corrupt. lifting the banking secrecy around the world will do a lot to root out corruption. Corruption in itself knows no bounds. look at what happened to our own institutions in the recent past. If you give people the opportunity to steal it seems that they will no matter where in the world it is. Let us do away with the ability of corrupt people to hide their loot and development will take off around the globe.

  • Tim Wolfe

    You’ll find that Moyo is arguing for investment — not aid run through bureaucracies. She wants countries to stand on their own… though I hope to hear a debate on how best to actually achieve that.

  • Beth

    I agree with Moyo’s position, but with a critical caveat: market forces will only have a positive effect in African countries if it is based on fair prices and living wages. For example, Ethiopia is one of the world’s biggest coffee exporters, but also one of its biggest aid recipients because WTO and other international markets control the price per kilo and literally pay pennies on the dollar. Coffee wealth is concentrated in international companies while Ethiopian coffee farmers struggle and starve. Moyo is absolutely correct that aid should be temporary, not open-ended, but our own US economic crisis should teach us that unregulated markets with no long-term interests can just as easily spell disaster as success.

  • neil

    Dear Tom:
    Ms. Moyo’s thesis has some merit because nation-building, civic development has not been a priority. We have privileged strong leaders who supported US/EU (govt/business) short-term goals. Look at Haiti on our backdoor (no schools, no healthcare, no clean water, a ravaged environment). We know what works but have not had the US political will (Marshall Plan-like) to meet measurable, accountable goals the to hand over the keys to the locals. A similar lack of planning and clear goals occurred in Iraq.
    I applaud her forcing the dialogue into the light. NW

  • Ian

    Through my own experiences with aid regimes in Africa and after completing a grad program in International Development, I find myself in agreement with a lot of Moyo’s arguments for why aid is failing. In fact, many many others have made the same arguments, such as in William Easterly’s recent book, White Man’s Burden. However, I think the reason Moyo is getting such press for her book is because her solutions agree with the neoliberal orthodoxy that is still driving the global economy. In light of the the failures of this economic thinking in our own experiences in the US and other “developed” countries, is the market really the magic solution to underdevelopment? We have to be careful not to adopt easy solutions and give those who have a predisposition to not care about foreign assistance to poor countries ammunition.

  • Mike

    I am a graduate student in Boston studying foreign health aid to Africa, and this is a widely-held belief among professors and students. My question is what to do now?

    The problem comes from the US government making Africa dependent on our aid.

    Is reforming government policies the only way to tackle this problem? Can we achieve this despite the fact that keeping Africa poor helps keep the US rich?

  • Masse Ndiaye

    1. I find it ironic that Moyo is willing to spurn Aid and accept humanitarian Aid when we know that used clothes donated through the Salvation Army and other organization have found their ways to the African markets for sale and have in fact killed the textile industry in Zambia (Moyo’s own country).

    2. In addition to that I think it is a comprehensive program of reform that is needed here. While market is advocated , African farmers and other entrepreneurs are finding it extremely difficult to compete in the European and American market given the non-tariff barriers and subsidies that are unfairly practice by European governments.

  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7847753.stm Frederic C.

    I agree with Dambisa Moyo and it would be something if she is right.

    You cannot control all actors and in the absence of aid from right-minded countries and organizations won’t the poor be horribly exploited by the evil and amoral?

    I find the concept of proselytization repugnant but, faith and religion is a powerful force for moving people towards a good life and society.

    If not religion, what?

    An enlightened Spartan-like form of conscription to be the absent fathers of the world?

  • Raymond Saloomey

    Keep in mind that most Aid Agency managers – not the folks on the ground – have a vested interest in them continuing. Generally the receive rather generous salaries.

  • Chesire11

    The real obstacle to successful economic development in Africa is not foreign aid, nor even political corruption. The real problem is that the post-colonial states retain the extractive trade relationships of the colonial period. When European powers governed the African continent, infrastructure was built with the purpose of quickly and efficiently extracting the wealth of available raw material. The infrastructure in place still favors trade with the former colonial powers over intracontinental trade. Even the recent flood of Chinese investment in Africa is directed toward extracting resources from the continent to fuel the Chinese economy.

    In essence, Africa has been and will continue to remain economically undeveloped as long as fledgling African industries are forced to compete with wealthy multinational corpoarations for raw materials, labor and markets, both domestic and foreign. It is still cheaper and more economically efficient to remove raw materials from an African country, ship it thousands of miles to European or American factories and ship the finished product back to Africa and sell it at a lower price than it is for a domestic manufacturer to produce the same item from domestic materials for domestic or at least African markets.

    Until a new infrastructure favoring the retention and development of African wealth and industry in Afraca is set in place, the continent will remain locked in an exploitative “date-rape” relationship to the world economy. No amount of development dollars or freeing of market forces will do anything to foster African development until local trade is allowed to develop naturally.

  • Marlin Adams

    The Sister is right, On Point!

    Africans, including African Americans, will be extinct in the next 500 years if they don’t find a way to build AN INFRASTRUCTURE OF SELF SUFFICIENCY.

    Blacks worldwide are terminally dependant on Western White society, and, from an imperialist perspective, this has been a good thing, but from an African perspective it has been an unmitigated disaster. The real problem is that imperialism isn’t going to just go away, the imperialist have to much invested and are in need of so much of the natural resources that Africa is sitting on, that the small amount of Aid they spend is money well spent in pursuit of continuing control over the resources like oil, ColTan, Lumber, Uranium, diamonds, gold, nickel, etc.

    The West is dreading the day that it has to deal with a strong, independent, self-sustaining Africa/African, because it is some much easier to maintain these superiour standards of living when you don’t have to pay full value for the resources that make your life convenient.

  • Stella

    If what the author is ultimately arguing is more self-determination for Africans, I am in agreement. But in order to get there, a lot more needs to be done than just invite Western investment. It requires building infrastructure, democratizing politics and electing leaders who are accountable. Also, the imposition of the Structural Adjustment Policies of the IMF and the World Bank must be undone. What does the author think about this last issue?

  • Bob

    Ms. Moyo, you mention countries like Korea, Japan, China, and the Green Revolution. Did these countries not receive huge amounts of aid for development? Wasn’t the Green Revolution in Asia heavily subsidized by the Rockefeller Foundation? Do you argue against the merits of the Marshall Plan? To lump “Africa” into this equation and the so-called $1 trillion over 50 years for 700 million people sounds like a gross miscalculation in effectiveness or as you say the ineffectiveness of aid.

  • Wu

    While I think aid is essential to Africa, I think her argument is quite strong in some points. I’m not familiar with Africa, but I remember in 1987 when I was a high school student in China, world bank aided my city to build a bridge and a school building. Everybody was excited, but the emphasis was more about the way world bank manage it — the auction, the operation… the money was important, but the way it operates was more important. My cousin managed to be an assistant to the auction, so he can learn the whole process.

    I’m not familiar with Africa, but I think her argument deserves more attention.

  • Mike

    John McArthur, makes some really good points, Dambisa Moyo seem to fail on reconizing the progress aid had for africa much better to have a look at what works and what does not.

    It seems that she wish it be better for the private sector to exploit the many african countrys again,

    can u imagine a private for provite company running social problems and aids, shaving money off just as the african government she say has but now people would be turn down and exploited.

  • sam

    With everything she says the author contradicts herself! She touts about how her work has been welcomed by the World BANK, IMF and African leaders, are these parties not complicit in the problem, corruption and waste that has plagued Africa for years. She has nothing to say, just reiterating talking points, the issues at stake are more complicated than her self indulgence and arrogance will allow her to acknowledge. I listened to theprogram hoping she will have some fresh ideas and more concrete suggestions to present, the other guest was more coherent and holistic in his approach than she was with her sweeping generalizations and unsubstantiated claims.

  • Chesire11

    Korea, Japan and China were never subjected to the same, trade distorting colonial relationships to which Africa has been subjected for the past few centuries. At no point did trade with Europe or America eclipse or supplant local, domestic production and trade.

  • Earl Shepherd

    Sorry I have not read Dambisa Moyo’s Book. I have visited more than 20 African countries and have witnessed first hand the problems that aid creates. In the 70′s I had a contract to purchase hand tools for Nigeria. I found it impossible to purchase the tools, unless purchased through an designated agents that extorted all of the money. In many African countries hand tools are almost unobtainable. If it was desirable for Africans to support themselves, this would be a more favorable approach.

    Ms. Moyo is largely correct. The money allocated for Africa ends up in the hands of foreigners that perpetuates the conditions in Africa to sustain their jobs. The aid approach has increased the ability of foreign companies to steal the wealth from Africans, while removing African leadership accountability to their own people.

    Tom, I hope you stick with this issue.

  • Stan

    This was a great show and we need a lot more like it about this topic. I wish we had discussion about it on at least one show a month. We need to become much more informed, much more nuanced about the facts and issues surrounding human poverty and development around the world. This show, again, was a great start. Please don’t let it stop here.

  • Chesire11

    How many hand tools were manufactured in Africa? They might possibly have been produced from African metal, but were most likely produced in factories outside of Africa. Until Africa is allowed to retain and use it’s mineral wealth, it will remain economically undeveloped.

  • Stan

    Great point, Chesire11. We have this notion that economic development means fully integrating with the world economy. If I were leading a developing nation I would propose that we develop more as an autarky initially and let our own economy produce what we need. Create our own banking system, use intermediate technologies such as home produced human powered mechanical pumping and textile production machines instead of hard currency dependent fossil fuel consuming foreign machines. One needs to learn to walk first and, besides, when you consider how much planned obsolescence and waste we generate in the so called credit driven, petro-dependent, global economic system who is to say the global approach is necessarily more “advanced” or sustainable in the long run? Ironically, Africa still might have a great opportunity to do it distinctly better than the house of cards the so called advanced economies have built themselves.

  • Frank

    Did anyone else notice how this show was painfully evident of just ANOTHER case of a White man telling an African person what is best for HER people? When will we let them speak up and tell us what is best for themselves? The problem is staring us in our face. It is our constant propagation of the mentality first shown in Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “The White Man’s Burden”. As an American college student, I am constantly fighting with classmates on the dominant image of Africa in the mainstream media as a charity case. I have lived in Tanzania for a summer, and am headed to South Africa for a year after college. I have seen that Africa is a beautiful place full of natural resources and good people. The US government wants you to think it is a savage, war-torn place, like that displayed on the tv show “24″, so that you don’t feel bad that we are stripping them of every resource they have, and throwing aid at them, creating dependency and keeping them in modern day slavery – economic slavery.

  • Stan

    Frank: Totally concur. Our self certitude is not only arrogant it is unsustainable and even immoral including what seems to be our notion of what is a high standard of living. For example, in the west it is estimated we throw away 25 percent of our food without consuming it. Waste, greed, gluttony, obesity, squander: is this really a sustainable economic model worthy of anyone’s aspiration? Africa does not need or deserve our paternalism – we have enough growing up to do ourselves.

  • http://www.ingramfoundation.info Edward Ingram

    Aid has to take a form that does not put in jeopardy the entrepreneur. Normally it is designed to do exactly that, by for example, providing free busses in competition with established operators.

    And this is normally done in critical areas of the economy which need vigorous entrepreneurs.

    Much better is to offer to pay part of the cost of goods and services leaving the normal spending pattern intact and just making goods and services more available. THis protects the entrepreneurs and leaves the people best informed of the nation’s (and their own) needs to decide the priorites.

  • Chesire11

    Just as a point of digression, contrary to popular belief, Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden” was not a call to imperialism, nor was it a defense of European imperialism. Kipling was not, in fact an imperialist. The point of “The White Man’s Burden” wasn’t that the white man SHOULD conquer and “improve” the “savages” of Africa and Asia. (“The Man Who Would Be King” expresses his disdain for imperialism!) His point was that since Europe already had conquered the world, it wsa now the duty of the “White Man” not to exploit their colonial subjects, but to administer their colonial possessions for the benefit of the indigenous peoples.

    Kipling would have rathered it if Europe had never engaged in empire building, but since it had, it was their duty to administer them with justice and charity rather than greed and brutality.

  • Heikal I. Kenneded

    Dambisa Moyo is right on the money in regards to African aid and its debilitating impacts on poor African nations. As a Somali native, I have experienced first hand the vicious cycle of foreign aid and corruption in my native country and how it was responsible for its ultimate collapse.

    Most NGOs operating in the African continent are corrupt organizations driven by greed and have no interest whatsoever to help the poor, non-suspecting African people.

    This scandalous mechanism of keeping down these developing African nations has gone too long and it’s time to set them free in order for them to realize their full potential of self-dependency and determine their future like the rest of the developing world who long overcame the bondages of foreign aid belying as benevolent welfare, instead of being the real neo-colonization form.

  • Chesire11

    While I am by no means an expert on Somalia, I suspect that the cold war militarization of the Horn of Africa, wars with Ethiopia, debt burden and years of drought and famine probably contributed greatly to the collapse of the Somali state. Corruption, while aggrevated by infusions of unmonitored cash from aid agencies to the Somali government, cannot be blamed upon foreigners. In the end, the problem of corruption in any country is a domestic matter. No one can be the keeper of a man’s conscience but that man himself.

  • Frank

    Chesire11, I completely agree with you, and I know the poem and Kipling were not written in support of imperialism and colonialism, but the “burden” that is mentioned is my problem. If there is no burden, and no moral guilt, then why do we have to be involved? Well the burden was created by empire building in the first place, but there are no more colonies, no more foreign empires, why not let them give it a go by themselves and us get over the guilt of colonialism, it might just fix the problem, kind of like the “white guilt” experienced by many americans towards their african-american neighbors and friends?

    Would you say the following quote accurately describes Bush’s PEPFAR agenda: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” — C. S. Lewis

    Interesting to think about, and glad to be able to have the discussion with you.

  • Pianki Pianki

    I am elited to here someonesay what I have been all along. Africa aid programs are nothing more than a welfare program for western companies and NGOS. The aids has never went to those programs that would make African Countries self sufficient. They are designed on a small level to produce a continient of consummers who are depending on others to provide and produce what is needed. Give loans not aid. Stop the aid.

  • Jesse

    A provocative thesis? Really? Anyone who thinks she’s provocative should check out “The Road to Hell” by Michael Maren (Simon and Shuster, 1997) wherein the author argues in no uncertain terms that the terrible war and eventual failure of the state of Somalia is a direct result of American food aid and international charity. Somalia is just one, but perhaps the chief case in point.

    The only thing shocking about this author’s thesis is that Americans are still ignorant of this idea. As the author pointed out, she is not the first, last or only person with a deep interest in seeing Africa succeed that believes that the traditional aid model is failing to lift Africa out of poverty.

    Is it really so hard for Americans to understand that the road to hell is paved with good intentions?

    I’m not sure what it is about this author: perhaps its her biography and impressive credentials, the very forceful and articulate way in which she is able to explain this idea, or perhaps she just has a really good agent that gets her good radio spots. But it amazes me that this idea is still “provocative” and new to people and somehow sounds overly capitalist. I was taught this idea at an uber-liberal university (UW-Madison), by a thoroughly liberal professor/anthropologist (Sharon Hutchinson) who had lived for decades in Africa. People familiar with how aid works in reality accepted this general thesis long before Maren wrote “Road to Hell” over 10 years ago.

  • Jesse

    Oh, and I meant to say Thank You to Dambisa Moyo. Again, I don’t know why she has been crowned the media darling of the anti-aid thesis, but I thank her for taking the arrows people sling at her, not just on this show, but on her entire book tour. It’s undeserved and I’m very happy that she’s willing to stand up for truth, even when it’s counter-intuitive.

  • Chesire11


    Although the Eurpean colonial powers relinquished political control over their former colonial possessions, they still retain de facto economic control. The extractive infrastructures they left behind perverted trade patterns to favor the export of cheap raw materials to the developed economies of the west and retarded the natural development of domestic, wealth creating industries. In addition, the western powers have used their wealth to prop up and arm tyrannical regimes more responsive to our economic interests than to the needs of their own citizens.

    Just handing the keys to a local, but leaving and in many cases reinforcing the exploitative relationship does nothing to end or to expiate the evils of empire. Metaphorically, the west is like a driver that intentionally ran down a pedestrian then, in a fit of remorse, drove away, leaving the victim bleeding in the street, pausing only to steal his cell phone.

    I would argue that the burden remains and if anything has grown heavier. For what it’s worth, I think the proper means of redressing the situation would be for the African Union to impose a hefty, continent wide regime of hefty tarrifs upon the export of raw materials to non-AU states and the import of finished goods from outside the AU. The west could support them by first, not opposing them and retaliating against them; second by ending subsidies to agribusiness; and, third, by directing aid toward the development of intra-African transportation networks and to alleviate any short term disruptions caused by the redirection of demand from imported goods to goods from African producers.

  • Chesire11

    Also, I’m not sure exactly how PEPFAR represents a well-intentioned tyranny, though I mut confess, I’m not terribly well informed about the program.

  • Brick1

    A truly remarkable program. One thing that rang true above almost all else was Ms. Moyo’s comment to the effect that “The only people making money off the large aid programs are westerners.” In other words, there is a whole aid industry that self perpetuates as long as the system is kept in place. I was also struck by the similarities of our own welfare system: giving money to people keeps them enslaved; those who make money for themselves will always be their own masters.

  • Chesire11

    …of course, the only ones spending money on large aid programs are westerner as well, so that’s a wash.

  • Lesl

    Tom–Great show. This is why I, and I’m sure others, like you. Not only are you willing to take on the controversy, but you handle it well and intelligently. This is what our liberal-dominated NPR and national media really really needs: intelligent engagement of paradigm-smashing topics led by extremely intelligent facilitators who try to see all sides. Kudos! Keep’m coming!

  • aytal

    The result of supporting “friendly tyrants” in the past years has benefit some corrupt elites but not the majority of Africans. Read and reread John Perkins books and attend his seminars to understand what is going on in the name of development assistance. To quote from his book entitled “The Secret History of the American Empire” -”If you want to have children, and want to live prosperous lives, you damn well better make sure that we control the African continent” and this is possible by installing “friendly tyrants” like Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia who is the enemy of his people and hate the country he governs.

  • shea macaran

    i worked for a number of years here in the us with different social service organizations doing grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, grant research, information management and pr. i worked for an independent living center, an aids servcie organization, a community action center, and a tenants rights organization, and a women’s shelter. at the end of 5 or 6 years of this i had to face myself in the mirror and accept that every single organization i had worked for had, as its primary goal, not independence for its clients, not reduction of the need for its services, but quite the opposite. all of the organizations, working on all of these issues, were first and foremost vehicles for exploiting people in need as a way to procure power, prestige and just plain money for the people who organized and ran them. and all of this was done, quite callously, at the expense of the people these organizations were supposed to serve. ‘empowerment’ was absolutely NOT the intention of these organizations. ‘empowered’ people couldn’t be exploited. therefore, deliberate, and often even blatant strategies to ensure the continual erosion of self confidence and self worth were the status quo. so i quit it all and haven’t been involved in a single “helping” organization since.

  • shea macaran

    um, i’m tired. i meant this comment, not as a self-aggrandizement, but as a comment that it is not only people in other countries that we treat like this, but our own citizens too. i am so grateful to have been able to hear ms. moyo’s analysis – it really affirms that our problem lies in our attitudes towards what constitutes success and worth, as well as our (extremely shortsighted and nose-cutting-off-to-spite-face) priorities. i totally agree with the person who mentioned the similarity to the policies and attitudes towards welfare recipients. as a former recipient myself i can wholeheartedly confirm that that was exactly my experience – i was even encouraged to have more children despite my lack of ability to support the one i had!!

  • Judith Baker

    No, she is wrong on almost every point except that corruption is bad.
    1. The IMF won’t allow African governments to spend adequately on services to their people – ed, health, housing, water,etc. Even if remittances from families rise, govt spending is forced to go DOWN to make up for it as inflation fighting.
    2. While US is stimulating its recessionary economy, Africa is being told to save, and it’s not working.
    3. Job creation is the goal of almost every aid program – but you can’t work [or find employees] if your young people are uneducated or dying of AIDS. The average African govt spends less than $25 a person on health care and a woefully inadequate amount on education — and she wants us to deny health and education aid? Do that and no job creation program will go very far.
    4. True, aid is very tricky – that’s why aid professionals are constantly trying to figure out how to do it better. Go to their conferences and you will hear this ongoing work.
    5. ‘Aid workers’ these days are mostly local people hired with donor money. This is one huge change from 15 years ago – the era she seems to be criticizing.
    6. No aid for Darfur? Let 3 million people starve to death or die of meningitis? Let the 1000 year culture of moderate Sunni Islamic richness disappear?
    7. Removing trade barriers and stopping the net outflow of capital from African countries would create jobs – so let’s do it. But it is advocacy, activists [funded by 'aid'] who work to accomplish this. No one in power in the ‘first’ world will do it without a huge struggle – and someone has to lead the struggle.
    There is so much more wrong with her ‘thesis’ but enough.

  • Al

    Moyo is right; most of this money goes right down the drain. It is shocking that behind most of the NGOs are people from elite institutions like Harvard, Oxford and the like who seem to not really have experienced the realities of these countries. Also, they complain about how our government does not allow these countries to develop, but they rub shoulders with rich people socially everyday. Why aren’t they doing anything?

  • http://www.zazzle.co.uk/edem13 Ed Hiheta

    Dambisa Moyo made a clear analysis of the Aid impact on Africa and suggested financial tools and solutions that will help African countries. African Leaders and African ordinary citizens should read her book and embrace her ideas and suggestions and put them into practice to build the continent. Dambisa Moyo is telling you something that you don’t hear from the media.

    And I would add ‘The best time to read Dead Aid was 50 years ago. The second best time is today’

  • Whitney Lukuku

    Listen up people. Dr, Moyo is advocating self reliance. She is saying Africans should create their own wealth. They should be masters of their own destiny. To do this she has provided some prescriptions on which Africans can build. Africa at this time is like a person on social income assistance.If they get cut off, they will find a way to earn money. So will Africa. If aid is cut off, Africans will be more aggressive in pursuing ways of attracting investment.

  • GM

    I firmly believe that aid is not good for Africa. My belief is within the larger context that perpetual state of dependency is not good for anybody, the giver or the recipient. To me, Africa’s dependency stifles innovation and promotes laziness and demoralization on the continent. As well, so many years of foreign aid and untold billions of dollars in aid have yielded not much results, if any at all. Obviously, there is something wrong with this picture; a manager of a properly-run organization will not sink billions of dollars into a project, with no returns or hope of any, unless the manager has an ulterior motive or is using that business as a front for something else. I believe it is time for a new thinking that will see Africa on the road to self-sufficiency, and if this means Africa going it alone, so be it. I am not an economist but maybe there is a need to reorganize the world trade order. Aid has not worked in Africa and will never work. It only appeases the conscience of countries which exploit Africa; aid keeps Africa in perpetual bondage.

  • Cathy

    Kudos to Chesire11 and Judith B! I couldn’t have articulated it better! Thanks!

  • Bryan

    Her arguments sound great unless you know what you’re talking about, at which point, the only logical conclusion is dismiss the book as another attention seeking public relations exercise catering to the uninformed pessimistic right wing looking to escape moral culpability and justify inaction on Africa.

  • Alpha Thomas Bangura

    I am from Liberia, West Africa, but a resident of st. Louis Mo. I do agree with Ms. Mayo that Aids sent to Africa put Africa on a life support! We (Africans) have more than enough resources that the entire world depends on-; Liberia for example has the world single largest rubber (latex) plantation owned by Firestone, Liberia, a couple of years ago used to run the world largest timber cooperation owned by OTC, I can go on and on and the list will be infinite ; but the question is where does the wealth of these nations end up? Well, sorry to say but in the pockets of the politicians, foreign exploiters and the so-called aids givers. The situation is as such that the countries in Africa are plunged into these situations by a few handful of local bandits( politicians) and their international “ bosom associates “ who maliciously pretend to like Africa. They come in bring “aid” and take gold and diamond, and timber and oil and …..
    Secondly, if aid to Africa is important at all why not have the people who need this help suggest to whosoever that provides it what they need? Do you want to go in with a billion dollar project for road construction when the inhabitants of that area don’t owe cars and will never use that road to transport anything? Do you want to build hospitals in a village where there are no nurses, doctors or health practitioners? Do you want to build schools in towns where there are no teachers, or trained teachers? The so-called philanthropists go in with these spurious and ill-planned, un-researched projects which by the end of time yield no positive results- it is like siphoning liquid in a container that has hole at the bottom. Honestly, Africa does not need any of that now, yes we do need help, but help in the form of empowering the folks who will then take the lead in using their own resources directed to internally determined needs of their community. Include the locals in your feasibility studies and then come up with projects that will be meaningful to the people, not paved roads for pedestrians or high schools when there are not even kindergartens. Government should be responsible to make all of this happen because we do know that the wealth (resources) are huge and that we are able to pay for the expatriates that would come to help make this happen. But again it is a shame to see how people think that the West has this big burden, “Africa”, and to be able to ease its burden is by siphoning this wonderful miraculous thing called “aid”. It has not helped and it will never help until the real needs are addressed.

  • Catherine

    Fascinating debate. As someone who doesn’t know this area very well but cares about Africa’s future, I had 3 takeaways:

    1) I was hoping for there to be more discussion of Ms. Moyo’s proposed solutions. I’ll concede that there’s probably truth to her argument, but her tone is so severe that I think it’s hard to get past the actual argument to talk about solutions. The entire show got bogged down in the back-and-forth (with Tom egging it on a bit) but I never heard what her proposal was. How would this free market approach be administered? Doesn’t Africa have some unique characteristics that would make this plan harder than it sounds?

    2) At one point she mentioned China as a (admittedly unperfect) model for private investment in Africa. From what I understand, China has not exactly acted with the African people’s best interests at heart (see: Sudan). Using China as an example of how private investment can work in Africa probably isn’t helpful.

    3) At the end of the day, this seems to be a very conservative pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, let-the-market-decide attitude, which is fascinating given that most people who care about aid to Africa would probably describe themselves as liberal. In a domestic context, this conservative argument towards, for example, inner-city education would be anathema to liberals. Funny to see that some of them are so much in favor of it in an African context.

  • Brown muuz

    Sure, it does help! no question about it. ***** But **** these “aid” are corrupt themselves, not to mention the recipients “governments” are far more corrupt. IMF is one huge example of these aids thats corrupt. So everything we talk about that aids are being given to the african nations time and time again, do not necessarily true in its arrival to the proper recipeints. I dare somebody does a documentary on this matter.

    prove!…. africas are the same for centuries.

  • http://www.stretchmarkremovalblog.com Jemma Elrin

    They say we poured into the aid of Africa although most of these “organizations” in between take like half of our donations for reasons like salary etc….I mean think about it, who actually works for free?

  • koster

    Aid is good for looters and killers in a country like Ethiopia http://articles2u.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/corruption-and-tplf. But if there is really an Ethiopian leader who cares for their people and country, aid could be properly used that will benefit Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

  • Tino

    The real problem in Africa is their non-existent self-dependence (as mentioned earlier), and their troubled infrastructure in general.

    Thousands of years ago, the Egyptians would build huge monuments and cities OUT OF NOTHING, where did these skill go? Why is it that the ancient Greeks would make cities out of nothing and with no modern day technology, but all Africa can build (with all of its aid, and access to modern-day technology) is a few huts and non-safe buildings in general?

    Why is it that in other parts of the world, skyscrapers are built in a year or two, but that in Africa, they have problems building a few buildings that don’t look like they have been made solely from cloth and broken cars?

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  • Ibehpapi

    Africa and china trade relationship salvation or Disaster for Africa”s sustainable development


Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

On Point Blog
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