David and Goliath: Dambisa Moyo at the World Bank Group

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Who's the newest aid critic in town? This time it's not another white guy from Oxford (or New York University). Dambisa Moyo - a Zambian, an employee of Goldman Sachs, a recipient of a PhD in economics from Oxford, and a woman (in no particular order) - has gained a lot of notoriety for her recently published book Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa, which (surprise, surprise) takes a less than sanguine view of the aid industry. She'll be giving a talk at the IFC Auditorium April 20, 10:30 to 11:30. Unfortunately, there's no live feed for this event, but I plan on attending and reporting back here on the blog.

I have yet to get a copy of Moyo's book, but the middle-of-the-road Economist informs me that:

...it is good to welcome a new voice to the debate, and a black African woman too, Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian economist at Goldman Sachs. It is remarkable that so few voices have been raised in Africa, supposedly the main beneficiary of the world’s largesse, about how the aid money should be spent, or even whether it should be received at all.

Unfortunately, Ms Moyo’s contribution ends there, for “Dead Aid” does not move the debate along much. Yes, she has joined the chorus of disapproval—and that in itself might surprise a few diehards who think that Africans should just be grateful for the aid and shut up. But her arguments are scarcely original and her plodding prose makes her the least stylish of the critics.

For more views from the trenches, see Chris Blattman, Bill Easterly's take on Blattman, and Blattman's take on Easterly's take on Blattman. (Noone said blogging would be easy!) For extra credit, also see the take of our very own Africa Chief Economist, Shanta Devarajan.


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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