by Dambisa Moyo
I have been meaning to read this book for the last three years. I took a class and the lecturer brought it up a number of times, discussing Moyo’s valid points as well as some flaws in her solutions. I quickly forgot about the book as soon as I was done with that class. But a friend of mind reminded me of it recently and thanks to that I have read it.
Dambisa Moyo explores the issues that face Africa and claims the common issue in all of the problems is the endless flow of aid coming into the continent. The aid is given regardless of the offences committed by the governments of the countries. Even when they have been exposed of using the money the wrong way, they still have access to aid.
I appreciate how she gave a history on how aid got to Africa and how it slowly started becoming a problem rather than a solution to the issues at hand. It’s clear that the aid we get always ends up being used for the wrong things. Officials have to scheme off of it and then they end up using it on something that it was not supposed to be used on. It’s such a common case that it becomes expected. No one is shocked when it happens anymore.
You have countries led by people who are following the footsteps of their predecessors, many of them who got away with getting wealthy on the State’s dime. You have the Mobutu’s and Idi Amin’s whose wealth was something people were in awe of. These made it seem like the people who held the positions had a right to take from the people and if not the right, at least they had the capability.
Seeing that the book was first published in 2008, it felt a little bit dated. And with that, I am pretty sure the numbers she gave then must have changed by now. I am not a finance/econ person but it’s been almost ten years since it was first published. The situation in Burkina Faso is different at the moment. How are the Sino-African relations going?
One thing I didn’t agree with was the ‘blanket African problem/solution’ given by Moyo. You cannot say the main problem is the same for every African country. I know she mentioned that but according to her, once aid is eliminated Africa’s problems will be gone.
What about the problems faced by the former French colonies where their former colonialists are still controlling them?
What about countries torn so much on ethnic lines?
What of those with religious tensions?
What of the ones being exploited for their natural resources?
Will taking away aid really solve those issues?
Her plan was simplistic at best. It was the blanket solution given by people who love thinking of Africa as one nation instead of what it really is.
I loved that this made me want to go back to my history books. I have been going through the French colonies and the problems they face today thanks to France. I’ll probably write something about it soon because that stuff is insane.