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Dead Aid: Why aid is not working and how there is another way for Africa Paperback – 28 Jan 2010

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Dead Aid: Why aid is not working and how there is another way for Africa + The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It + The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill And So Little Good
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (28 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141031182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141031187
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Dambisa Moyo is an international economist who writes on the macroeconomy and global affairs.

She is the author of the New York Times Bestsellers "Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa", "How The West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly - And the Stark Choices Ahead" and "Winner Take All: China's Race for Resources and What It Means for the World".

Ms. Moyo was named by Time Magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World", and was named to the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders Forum. Her work regularly appears in economic and finance-related publications such as the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.

She completed a doctorate in Economics at Oxford University and holds a Masters degree from Harvard University. She completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and an MBA in Finance at the American University in Washington D.C..

Product Description


A damning assessment of the failures of sixty years of western development (Financial Times)

Kicks over the traditional piety that Western aid benefits the third world (Books of the Year Sunday Herald)

Dambisa Moyo makes a compelling case for a new approach (Kofi Annan)

Provocative ... incendiary ... a double-barrelled shotgun of a book (Daily Mail)

This reader was left wanting a lot more Moyo, a lot less Bono (Niall Ferguson)


'Here is an African woman, articulate, smart, glamorous, delivering a message of brazen political incorrectness: cut aid to Africa ... her ideas deserve to be taken seriously' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 92 people found the following review helpful By A. O. P. Akemu on 12 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The popular conception of Africa is not a pretty one. We are bombarded with images of civil wars, corruption, senseless ethnic violence and mass-scale poverty. Small wonder then that we are driven by compassion to help those "poor Africans" caught in the quagmire of misery; indeed, our celebrity-obsessed culture has taken up the cause with programmes like Make Poverty History, Live Aid, and Bono's endless solicitations on behalf of Africans. But does all this aid work? In this book, Ms. Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian-born economist, challenges the supposed efficacy of aid and demonstrates that aid has failed miserably to deliver economic growth.

Ms. Moyo differentiates among three types of aid:
1. EMERGENCY HUMANITARIAN AID. This is needed in the aftermath of a disaster such as during the Asian tsunamis in 2004;
2. CHARITABLE AID. Administered by organisations like Oxfam, charitable aid is targeted to delivering specific public goods like building toilets for teenage girls in India; and
3. DEVELOPMENT AID. This is bilateral or multilateral (via the World Bank to African governments) aid, which is used to supplement government annual budgets.

Developmental aid forms the bulk share of total aid flows to Africa; therefore, Ms. Moyo focuses her criticism on development aid.

She begins the book with a credible overview of the history of development aid--from its conception at the Bretton Woods conference in 1947 through the oil crises of the mid 1970s to the fall of the Berlin Wall. She argues that development aid was conceived as a means to spur economic growth. Showing growth statistics for Africa in the 1970s and 80s, she conclusively demonstrates that aid-receiving African countries have not grown in the two decades.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Erik Cleves Kristensen on 13 May 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not long ago I went to a presentation of this book at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), and I have subsequently read the book.
If I had not been at the presentation, I would probably have rated the book lower; at the start of her presentation, Ms. Moyo said that the book was not an academic analysis, but was rather intended to create debate. With this in mind, the book is surely worth reading, since the debate on aid to poor countries is in much need of reflection and new ideas.
But that said, this is not such a great book, and its message is not new. In fact, the best thing about the book is its quite provocative premise that Ms. Moyo largely views aid as the cause of all of Africa's problems.

The first part of the book is a fine albeit superficial summary of the history of aid, and its problems in relation to Africa, where she argues that aid to Africa since the end of colonial times has been the major cause for increased poverty, lack of growth, corruption and bad governance, even conflict! This of course leads to the more or less explicit premise that aid should just be done away with (something that the book has been widely quoted for), but in selected parts of the book, you can see that she is not necessarily as extreme as she gives the impression of in that first part: "However worthwhile the goal to reduce and even eliminate aid is, it would not be practical or realistic to see aid immediately drop to zero. Nor, in the interim, it might be desireable." (page 76).
The main problem with the first part of the book is her lack of differetiating between different kinds of aid; she does a simplistic differentiation in the start of the book between humanitarian and NGO aid (regarding the latter, Ms.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jillogical on 25 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Excitedly, I bought this book - with no background in this field - willing to learn about 'why aid makes things worse and how there is another way for Africa'. I was impressed by Moyo's credentials and by the praise from Kofi Annan on the back cover (I subtly missed praise from the Daily Mail on the front cover). What I discovered was an intriguing, insightful and to all intents and purposes, a well-researched thesis (in response to other reviews on amazon) with interesting facts (e.g. there's direct correlation between the level of corruption and a country's GDP).... this is where my praise for this book ends.

I felt that Moyo used the most insidious form of manipulation by presenting only the facts which support her theory, conveniently omitting or playing down information inconsistent with her argument (e.g. Botswana). As a scientist, I want to see all the facts laid out on the table and hear a well informed thesis; this is not the case with Dead Aid. In addition, the concept and solution is dragged out over 150 pages where 50 would have sufficed: it is an essay at best. Moyo does not confront what I feel is the principal problem with African aid mismanagement (and is a central part of her argument): corruption, until a third of the way through the book. Finally, her arguments are not structured clearly, there is a degree of contradiction and too much financial jargon for the lay-person.

Overall, the subject and argument are interesting and I did learn about another way for Africa, even though personally I feel a little dubious about Moyo's proposed 'other way' and I felt more manipulated than persuaded.
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