Week Seven — Dambisa Moyo and Foreign Aid

Moyo’s Alternatives to Foreign Aid

History of Aid

In Moyo’s Dead Aid, she outlines the history of aid by decades from the 10th century to the early 21st century. Moyo shows how political agendas back each form of foreign aid throughout time. It was interesting to see the evolution from industrialized or structural aid to more poverty-driven, social aid. I was surprised to see how much damage has been cause by celebrities in their effort to establish their morality. Because actors, musicians, and other public figures have used Africa as a platform to boost their sense of morality, the debate over whether foreign aid actually works barely exists anymore.

Washington Consensus

I don’t know much about the Washington Consensus. I do know that it is a set of ideas about the free market economy. The IMF, World Bank, and most of the Western world support these ideas. Moyo does mention the Washington Consensus

More About Moyo

Cracks in the Western Aid Model

Moyo quotes a critic of the foreign aid model saying, “my voice can’t compete with an electric guitar.” This refers to celebrities (in this case musicians such as Bono) using their public platform to promote foreign aid to establish their own morality. This has cause theublic debate concerning the effectiveness of foreign aid to cease entirely. Most people go along with foreign aid because that’s what they see as the only solution in the media. Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame refers to the fact that most foreign aid is spent with specific political agendas. Instead of using the aid to develop sustainable programs within African countries, Western governments and organizations give aid with competing interests.

Why Aid Doesn’t Work 

Moyo states that political, geographical, historical, cultural, tribal, and institutional factors all have contributed to failed African economies. One example of a historical factor is colonialism. Western countries divided territories based upon their own needs, and never took into account the history the people of those geographical regions. This makes it difficult to maintain stable governments in some African countries. “Forcing traditionally rival and warring ethnic groups to live together under the same flag would never make nation-building easy.” – Moyo, Dead Aid This leads to a second example of Moyo’s. Unstable governments and institutions continue to prevent African countries from economic prosperity and growth. Without sustainable institutions, foreign aid cannot be used effectively.

Moyo’s Solutions 

One of Moyo’s solutions is to establish an economic model similar to China in African countries. This means that African countries should strive to be less dependent upon Western countries for foreign aid, and they should work towards establishing more dependable free trade markets with other countries.

Sachs vs. Moyo


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