At first I do have to admit that I am not an economist, nor did I ever try to dissect the intricacies of present day economies. So to a certain level I could understand the content of this book by the Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo. Some things though were beyond my comprehension. What I however did understand gave me food for thought.

Moyo has looked at the present state of the economies on the African continent. For many decades large scale and systematic development aid has been given to all of these economies. What has been the net result for all of these countries? How do these countries compare to economies in Asia and Latin America who did get less Development Aid. (In the book it is stated that 30 years ago countries like Malawi, Burundi and Burkina Faso had a higher income per head of the population than China !!!) The conclusion of Moyo is that the development aid has been a dead end street, a cul de sac. In the end it did not help to build a resilient economy. By the way, Moyo does not include the existence of emergency aid and charity (in all its appearances), but she writes about the systematic aid of government and international organisations (e.g. IMF) in the way of direct subsidies or loans, given to African governments.

In this book she looks at different ways to improve the African economies (both national and regional). There is need for beter access to international bond. There should be infrastructural investments (look at China). Free trade worldwide for agricultural products (no subsidies for farm products world wide). More focus on micro-credits (see Yunus’ Grameen bank).

Next to that she looks at the cash flow from people in northern countries (in Europe and North America) to relatives in African countries. This money is an important asset in these receiving countries. There is a need for a well functioning banking system. Most of all there is need for good governance in all of the African countries.

Dambisa Moyo asks this question: Suppose the government of an African country gets the message from international donors that in five years time there will be an end to subsidies and loans. No kobo, no shilling, no dollar, no euro, no pound, no kwacha. What will this government do? Will it be a wake-up call?

In the Preface by Niall Ferguson it is said by him: More Moyo, less Bono!

Dambisa Moyo
Dead Aid.
Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa
Allen Lane Books 2009

Published by


I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.