There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Dambisa Moyo

She was born in Zambia, educated at Harvard and Oxford, and she worked for Goldman Sachs and The World Bank. And now she believes that it’s high time to cut off aid to Africa – within 5 years. I recently listened to Moyo’s appearance on NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook. Her ideas are radical but they make perfect sense to me. Here are some points I picked up from the show:

  • Most current aid to Africa is open-ended and without conditions – leads to indefinite dependence on foreign governments
  • Only 20% of aid money actually gets to the intended recipients, due to corruption and inefficiencies in distribution.
  • African governments are not accountable to Africans, but to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and foreign governments.
  • Total foreign aid since 1960 has reached $1 trillion.
  • African governments must provide infrastructure, education, health care – reliance on foreign governments to provide these services will at the same time damage the long-term ability of African governments to do the same.
  • Foreign aid has some benefits when it comes to disease treatment (malaria, AIDS/HIV), but it does not produce JOBS, which are the essential component to long-term economic development.
  • Foreign aid mostly creates jobs for westerners, but not for Africans.
  • Free cash disincentives Afircans to work and produce, and for governments to take responsibility.
  • We know what works: India, Chile, Botswana, China, South Africa – these countries did not rely heavily on foreign aid but rather had accountable governments which embraces free market principles.
  • No country in the history of the world has achieved long-term economic development by relying on the amount of aid that African countries do.

Also she has a new book coming out, entitled Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa.

1 comment

1 Neil { 04.21.09 at 4:44 pm }

Great to see. This unconventional school of thought gaining traction!

Saw her on BBC Hard Talk!

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