African governments are so corrupt-Dambisa Moyo

International economist Dambisa Moyo addressed issues regarding aid and development in Africa, and shared details on her newly released book, Monday in US.

Moyo, a native of Zambia, discussed the three different types of aid offered to African citizens.

The first type of aid considered is humanitarian or emergency aid, consisting of money given during a time of need, such as the earthquakes in Haiti, with humanitarian intentions from the donor. The second type of aid is considered charitable aid, which is money given to organizations, such as NGOs, in need. The third type consists of money given directly to the government and its supporting bodies.

Moyo focused her concern and criticism on the last type of aid.

“About $50 billion goes to the African governments every year,” Moyo said. “Governments in Africa are so corrupt.”

Money that lands in government hands is not dispersed or used for the public interest, she said.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the least corrupt, all but two of Africa’s countries have a rating of 5 or lower,” Moyo said, referring to information published by Transparency International, an organization dedicated to fighting corruption.

She said there is good reason a large amount of money would drive growth in Africa back in the 1950s, but those reasons do not apply now, after times have significantly changed.

By giving aid to African governments directly, donors are assisting in blatant stealing of earmarked money.

“Aid has contributed to the dysfunctionality in Africa,” Moyo said.

She said inflation is another cause of the aid issues within Africa because it kills off entrepreneurship.

“Aid, as helpful as the intentions may be, is actually a fundamental problem we face,” she said. “By giving aid to the government, the government does not need to be accountable to people on the ground. African governments don’t give a damn what Africans on the ground think.”

Sixty years have passed with aid continually being invested and poured into Africa. Moyo portrayed these years as a hindrance to growth, rather than a step toward reduced poverty.

“It is critically important that the African government lead and push the African growth, not hinder it,” she said. “African countries are not doing the basics to improve the economy. It has to do with government not laying out policies they should have a long time ago. Africans are keen and hungry, and interested in making their lives better for themselves.”

Africa needs to maintain a rate of 7 percent growth each year in order to accomplish healthy strides toward better living. Africa is currently at a 3 percent economic growth rate per year, she said.

Moyo’s new book, “Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa,” covers the inefficacy of development aid for poor countries.

Also included in the book is discussion of “the over reliance on aid that has trapped developing nations in a vicious circle of aid dependency, corruption and further poverty.” This leaves African countries continually desperate for further aid.

Keat Chew, ’13, attended the lecture with his economics class.

“Africa is too dependent on aid,” he said. “They seem lazy and they need to refocus on trade in order to prosper.”

Moyo earned a doctorate in economics from Oxford University and earned her master’s in business and a bachelor’s in chemistry from American University.

Moyo plans to continue her work in helping the development of African countries. She is also working on a new book, “How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly and the Stark Choices Ahead” that will explore aspects of the failure of policy-making in the world’s leading industrialized economies.


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