The latest issue of Financial Times week-end features an interview of the Zambian economist Moyo Dambisa where she discusses the future of aid for development of African countries and her latest book Dead Aid. "In Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo describes the state of postwar development policy in Africa today and unflinchingly confronts one of the greatest myths of our time: that billions of dollars in aid sent from wealthy countries to developing African nations has helped to reduce poverty and increase growth."
But she is starting from the premise that aid not only doesn’t work but is a large part of the problem: it crowds out private investment, fosters corruption, fuels conflict and undermines the rule of law. If that’s where you begin, then the fact that some donor countries are already squeezing their aid budgets and shelving lofty commitments to poverty eradication should prove a healthy wake-up call for African policymakers.
In fact, Moyo proposes far more radical treatment: a telephone call from every donor nation to every aid-dependent government in Africa, warning that in five years the taps will turn off. This, she believes, would trigger the search for alternative financing on a commercial basis, and force governments to create conditions in which business would thrive.
“In my world of no aid, it is easier for citizens to hold governments accountable”