Friday, 5 June 2009

Dead Aid: The debate gets even more exciting

Since Dambisa Moyo's book came out a few months ago, talk of it has appeared almost everywhere you turn to these days and her publishers must be smiling to the bank on the back of all this publicity.

It's led to a vigorous and passionate debate in recent times between some of the most renowned proponents on either side of the aid debate. Pitching Paul Kagame & Bill Easterly on one side against Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Collier (Ms Moyo's former tutor) on the other side.
There's a good summary of these arguments here and here.

So when on Monday, June 1, the Munk Debates (sponsored by Peter Munk of BarrickGold) hosted a showdown in Toronto, the fireworks were sure to fly. Gathered to discuss the question - “Is foreign aid to the developing countries doing more harm than good?” were Hernando de Soto & Dambisa Moyo (for the motion) and Steven Lewis & Paul Collier (against).

You can watch the fascinating debate here.

But why is this book such a hit with the attendant sky rocketing of Dr. Moyo's profile?

My guess is that her central points on the failure of western aid in Africa have met the wave of a growing sentiment in western societies on the point of continuing with the 'charity giving' approach of most current aid programs.
Also with the struggling finances in most western countires in the light of the global economic crisis, governments are looking for areas to cut back on, and cutting back on aid is an area that is not a vote loser.

And into this mix comes a book from this good looking, and articulate western-educated African woman who speaks the lingo well, saying to the Geldofs, Bonos and their buddies in government: stop giving us more of the same hand-outs, we're not kids! Her message came at this 'right' moment.
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