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

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Dead Aid

“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

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.
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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374139568
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 3/17/2009
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 5.84 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

We live in a culture of aid.

We live in a culture in which those who are better o. subscribe - both mentally and financially - to the notion that giving alms to the poor is the right thing to do. In the past fifty years, over US$1 trillion in development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. In the past decade alone, on the back of Live 8, Make Poverty History, the Millennium Development Goals, the Millennium Challenge Account, the Africa Commission, and the 2005 G7 meeting (to name a few), millions of dollars each year have been raised in richer countries to support charities working for Africa.

We are made to believe that this is what we ought to be doing. We are accosted on the streets and goaded with pleas on aeroplane journeys; letters flow through our mail boxes and countless television appeals remind us that we have a moral imperative to give more to those who have less. At the 2001 Labour conference, the UK's Prime Minister of the time, Tony Blair, remarked that 'The State of Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world', and that the West should 'provide more aid' as, thus far, amidst the multiple problems facing Africa, the continent had received inadequate amounts of aid.¹

Deep in every liberal sensibility is a profound sense that in a world of moral uncertainty one idea is sacred, one belief cannot be compromised: the rich should help the poor, and the form of this help should be aid.

The pop culture of aid has bolstered these misconceptions. Aid has become part of the entertainment industry. Media figures, film stars, rock legends eagerly embrace aid, proselytize the need for it, upbraid us for not giving enough, scold governments for not doing enough - and governments respond in kind, fearful of losing popularity and desperate to win favour. Bono attends world summits on aid. Bob Geld of is, to use Tony Blair's own words, 'one of the people that I admire most'. Aid has become a cultural commodity.

Millions march for it.

Governments are judged by it.

But has more than US$1 trillion in development assistance over the last several decades made African people better o.? No. In fact, across the globe the recipients of this aid are worse o.; much worse off Aid has helped make the poor poorer, and growth slower. Yet aid remains a centrepiece of today's development policy and one of the biggest ideas of our time.

The notion that aid can alleviate systemic poverty, and has done so, is a myth. Millions in Africa are poorer today because of aid; misery and poverty have not ended but have increased. Aid has been, and continues to be, an unmitigated political, economic, and humanitarian disaster for most parts of the developing world.

How this happened, how the world was gripped with an idea that seemed so right but was in fact so wrong, is what this book is about. Dead Aid is the story of the failure of post-war development policy.

Step by step it will dismantle the assumptions and arguments that have supported the single worst decision of modern developmental. politics, the choice of aid as the optimum solution to the problem of Africa's poverty. The evidence is as startling as it is obvious. It will contrast countries which have rejected the aid route and prospered with others which have become dependent on aid and been trapped in a vicious circle of corruption, market distortion and further poverty - and thus the 'need' for more aid.

Others before me have criticized aid. But the myth of its effectiveness persists. Dead Aid will offer a new model for financing development for the world's poorest countries: one that offers economic growth, promises to significantly reduce African poverty, and most importantly does not rely on aid.

This book is not a counsel of despair. Far from it. The book offers another road; a road less travelled in Africa. Harder, more demanding, more difficult, but in the end the road to growth, prosperity, and independence for the continent. This book is about the aid-free solution to development: why it is right, why it has worked, why it is the only way forward for the world's poorest countries.

Excerpted from DEAD AID by Dambisa Moyo

Copyright © 2009 by Dambisa Moyo

Published in 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A MUST READ!!!

    If you have concern for the individual, the community, the state, and a nation, you must read this book. If you would like to see people "help themselves", you must read this book. If you would like to see what dependentcy does to the individual, the community, the state, and a nation, please read this book. If you are pondering what is the way out, you must read this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 29, 2009

    Very technical analization-

    Not being familiar with scientific terms & definitions, I was floundering in a sea of unfamiliarity...Going to the last chapter; there I found the core suggested solutions for the theme of the whole book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 16, 2009

    Dead Aid

    I have travel to Zambia for the last 5 years and have seen first hand what the author has written about but I do not feel she is giving a true account of her situation as she has had more privileges then the regular Zambian has had. She has been given the gift of Education and chose to live in the US.
    I do feel if more Zambians are give the gift of Education that is the only way to get out of their poverty situation. The village where I go each year have the most inspiring people I have ever met. They live their lives with such faith and love and work hard for what they have. I belong to a non profit group that provides scholarships to young people for high school and college. The students that get our scholarships stay in Zambia to help the others in their community which is what we hope will happen.
    I would love to meet the young woman who wrote the book and maybe some day I will. We as Americans have no idea what others are going through unless we are fortunate enough to go and view how other live for ourselves. I recommend others go out and find out how fortunate we are to live in America. We need to learn to give back to others and be thankful for what we have.
    Thank you, Zambian bound

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Slavery by another name.

    This book is right on. It tells how a continent was duped into dependency. It can also be said that Blacks, in Amerikkka, are in the same boat.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

    Dead Aid Review

    Dead Aid is a semi decent book. Before reading it I had no clue what to expect. I just picked the book for a class because it looked interesting enough and I thought I knew a lot about Africa and its situation. Well I was wrong. The other divided the book into two parts: Reality and what could be done to fix the problem. I like this part about the book because she gave us a lot of background at first and a lot of statistics to support what she was saying and then she gave us the Dead Aid proposal that came with many solutions to the problem. It was a well written book that I learned a bunch of information off of. Most of these books I would read and get nothing out of except a nap but this one kept my attention and it seemed like she really knew what she was talking about. I would recommend it to someone that knows about the topic to get a new insight or someone that is looking to catch up on Africa's economic status.

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    Posted April 30, 2010

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    Posted July 29, 2009

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    Posted June 4, 2009

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