Author and economist Dambisa Moyo is an outspoken critic of foreign aid to Africa. In her best-selling book “Dead Aid“, she explains the state of post-colonial development policies in Africa and challenges the belief that billions of dollars in aid sent from wealthy countries to developing African nations helps reduce poverty and stimulate growth. To the contrary, she boldly confronts politicians and celebrities who have called for increasing aid to Africa by demonstrating that these policies have caused many African leaders to abandon national responsibilities to their citizens, increased the temptation for corruption, hindered the development of a middle-class in Africa, and altered the purpose of democratic elections on the continent. The failure of aid to “trickle down” to the grassroots level has resulted in the dramatic increase of well-intentioned charities and philanthropic organizations who act as surrogate providers of vital services, including healthcare and education.
Moyo makes it clear that she is not criticizing emergency relief aid that is necessary after natural disasters or unexpected circumstances. She also excludes the type of compassionate aid that connects people of one country to another.
While aid programs worked in post-World War II Europe and Japan with the Marshall Plan and has been successful in Asian countries like South Korea, the same strategies have not worked in Africa. While aid continues to increase from wealthy countries to Africa, poverty rates have escalated and growth rates have declined. There is evidence that the continent is currently experiencing worse circumstances with massive foreign aid efforts than it experienced during the independence movement of the mid-20th century.
In this video, Moyo discusses her thoughts about foreign aid to Africa with Canadian pollster and media pundit Allan Gregg on “Allen Gregg In Conversation“. She moves beyond criticisms and provides ideas for self-reliance and sustainability regarding the future of Africa.
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.
Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General