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

4.0 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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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: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

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)

Review

'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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lendrick VINE VOICE on 2 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A book that argues that Western Aid (and in particular Government to Government Aid) is actually bad for rather than good for Africa. The author makes her case pretty convincingly; decades of Aid don't seem to have improved Africa's lot. Rather - the book claims - it has made corruption worse and distorted African economies.

It's when she presents alternatives that the book struggles a bit. African nations should borrow on the international bond markets rather than accept Aid. Perhaps, but now is not the best time for that. The author is keen on Chinese investment in Africa, yet it is not clear how this is different from or better than western investment.

Overall the book has a slightly dry academic feel to it, Moyo is an economist not a journalist and it shows. While much is made of her being African, yet she doesn't seem to have lived there since she was a child, and there is little personal in a book heavy on economics.

A book anyone interested in the issues around Aid should definitely read. But a bit thin on hard examples to be quite the devastating critique of Aid that some credit it with being.
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I only have 2 stars because I did not have the knowledge required to follow all her arguments, but having given to charity for third world poverty for 40 years of my working life I am sure she is on to something. International finance I don't understand but the time has surely come when aid should only be for short term emergency fixes. We all need to work for our own well being. African princes can stay in 5 star hotels in London so maybe it's time to tell them to help their own folk.
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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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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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