Dead Aid By Dambisa Moyo FSG; 188 pages
Poor Africa. It's both the literal and figurative meanings of that phrase that gall Dambisa Moyo. A Zambian-born, Harvard- and Oxford-educated economist who worked at Goldman Sachs for almost a decade, Moyo is particularly angry at the way overly solicitous Western financial aid has made Africa's "poor poorer." As she writes, "The notion that aid can alleviate systemic poverty ... is a myth." That $1 trillion-plus the U.S. has poured into Africa? Mostly useless. All that Bono-supported "glamour aid"? Somewhat insulting. The truth, Moyo argues, is that massive foreign aid encourages corruption and stifles the investment and free enterprise that can provide long-term stability. Her alternative solutions include widespread microfinancing and unfettered agricultural trade with the West. Africa could also use more foreign direct investment--which China regularly provides, despite howls over its deals with the continent's more unsavory regimes. Still, Moyo notes, China's "foray into Africa is all business"--there's not a smidgen of pity involved. Which is the way it should be.
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