Aid in Africa

Aid in Africa

 
 
Dambiso Moyo has her Ph.D in economics, she was born and raised in Zambia and has worked for Goldman Sachs for almost a decade. Her personal ties to Africa and professional background have led her to the fact that foreign aid in Africa is actually weakening the continent instead of its intended effects and herbook Dead Aid is a must read for those wanting to learn more about Africa, aid, and the consequences.
Moyo argues that aid is no longer working (and never really worked for Africa) because it goes directly into the hands of corrupt officials. Why? Foreign investors wanting to provide aid believe countries that are poor and have little infrastructure must be the target of their funding. However, this poverty and lack of infrastructure is often because these countries harbor corrupt governments whose officials receive foreign aid and put in their own pockets or toward personal agendas that do not benefit the country as a whole.

It’s a vicious cycle because we see the population suffering, give them money to help pull them out of their poverty, their governments squander this money, thus making people more poor, we find they are becoming poorer and repeat by giving additional aid. What should be stressed when wanting to provide countries with monetary help is if the country has a strong infrastructure already in place. There must be efficient and positive means for our dollars to be funneled into a country and then subsequently distributed through its own system without being embezzled for nefarious uses. We’re not screening the officials and leaders who are inevitably receiving our dollars.

Also another brake keeping Africa’s economy from growing is our fixation on developing NGO’s and businesses that offer Africans necessities and goods. Africans need to be able to have the market available to create their own businesses in which they can buy and sell from each other using competitive prices. For example, one African man may see there is a malaria issue, he opens a shop selling mosquito nets to his countrymen but quickly goes under because an American program has come to Africa and passes out the same mosquito nets for free.

Many have criticized Moyo’s position on aid as being too harsh, claiming that if foreign countries stop sending funds to African countries there will be dire consequences for the stability of their economies and the welfare of their people. However, she states that since aid has been funneled into Africa since the late 60s, growth has stagnated and even declined in many countries. She points out that it just has not worked over these decades. Allowing Africans to build up their own companies, take claim over their markets and entice foreign countries to invest in them will be the first step toward economic success.