Saturday 31 October, 5.15pm until 6.30pm, Lecture Theatre 1
The global economic crisis is hitting the poorest parts of the developing world hard. The relatively high growth Africa has enjoyed in recent years is slowing as demand for the continent’s resources wanes, and foreign direct investment barely trickles in. There is a danger that the downturn will kill off the possibility of economic growth and leave Africa dependent on aid, just as NGOs and aid agencies fear donors will put aid on the back burner as the recession hits their own bank balances. But while some worry that the era of aid for international development is over, critics argue that it doesn’t help anyway, and that in order to spur development, Africans should just say no to aid and build up their own economies. Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo, for example, argues that Western aid simply perpetuates poverty in Africa, and calls instead for trade with China, accessing capital markets, and microfinance.
Critics say aid breeds corruption, fosters dependency and stifles growth. Meanwhile some aid agencies reject the idea that economic growth is the only means to develop. Others make aid conditional on ‘good governance’. With aid budgets under threat, with aid agencies be still more beholden to Western government agendas? Should we call for more aid, or kiss it goodbye and look to investment instead, even in the context of global recession? Should we be less concerned about the form the cash takes and where it’s from as long as it’s there? What kind of external assistance might help or hinder development?
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international development consultant; co-director, Ethical Events; author, The Attack on World Poverty
director, WORLDwrite & WORLDbytes
chairman, African Foundation for Development; founder, RemitAid
managing editor, spiked
This book tries to look squarely at some of the problems of development that everyone - from the South and from the North - has tried, and is still trying, to address, and some that we are avoiding altogether.
Benny Dembitzer, Green Print, 9 November 2009
There is famine in Kenya and Ethiopia again. Sending food and emergency relief will make things worse in the long term.Sam Kiley, The Times, 23 October 2009
As needs rise, the ability of aid agencies to respond is being limited by the global economic downturn, which has led some donor governments to scale back aid, and by the higher priority other donors attach to the crises in Afghanistan and Pakistan.Barney Jopson and Javier Blas, Financial Times, 29 September 2009
ONE, the advocacy group backed by Gates and rock musicians Bob Geldof and Bono released a report attacking several G8 nations for meeting financial aid goals, set in 2005, to countries in sub-Saharan Africa.CNN, 11 June 2009
Rather than phasing out aid, it is becoming clear that western governments will be asked to increase significantly the scope of support to avoid stagnation and a reversal of recently improved social indicators.Richard Lapper, Financial Times, 1 April 2009
In this provocative and compelling book, Dambisa Moyo argues that the most important challenge we face today is to destroy the myth that Aid actually works. In the modern globalized economy, simply handing out more money, however well intentioned, will not help the poorest nations achieve sustainable long-term growth.
Dambisa Moyo, Allen Lane, 29 January 2009