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Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  4,390 Ratings  ·  377 Reviews
In the past fifty years, more than $1 trillion in development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Has this assistance improved the lives of Africans? No. In fact, across the continent, the recipients of this aid are not better off as a result of it, but worse—much worse.

In Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo describes the state of postwar development policy
Hardcover, 188 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Apr 03, 2009 Dave rated it liked it
Dead Aid is an interesting, provocative look at the foreign aid industry and its effects on Africa. Dambisa Moyo, who formerly worked for Goldman Sachs and the World Bank, draws a conclusion not unknown to others in the field: development aid (as differentiated from humanitarian aid) has not only done little good for the nations of Africa but has indeed caused great harm. While I don't necessarily disagree with her conclusion, I didn't find her arguments particularly convincing.

There is no quest
May 02, 2011 Tinea rated it liked it
Woah woah woah. First of all, what is with the foreward here? "The simple fact that Dead Aid is the work of an African black woman is the least of the reasons why you should read it. But it is a good reason nonetheless." What Niall Ferguson means here is he found a person with the right national & gender background to prop up as a mouthpiece for his neoliberal economic agenda (which he then gleefully presents in the rest of the forward) and could all the critics calling it colonial back off ...more
Ben Babcock
Africa is this huge, Africa-shaped continent south of Eurasia and kind of east of South America. It’s well known for many reasons, such as elephants, lions (but not tigers or bears), and cheetahs. It’s the place where modern hominins evolved … yet now, millions of years later, it is one of the most impoverished places on Earth. Of course, I’m speaking broadly here. As anyone who has actually done much work on or in Africa will tell you, and as Dambisa Moyo points out in her book, “Africa” is a c ...more
Clare Herbert
May 08, 2012 Clare Herbert rated it it was ok
I hate economics. Financial stats and graphs put me asleep, and economic theory is about as interesting as watching ants crawling down the street.

But, I realize that kudos in the world of politics, development and current affairs comes via a sound economic grounding.

So, I’ve been crawling my way through The End of Poverty, which I will review when I finish it. (Probably in 10 years.) In sum, author Jeffrey Sachs advocates a large financial investment and unwavering political will to end the scou
Beth Haynes
Jun 30, 2010 Beth Haynes rated it really liked it
I just finished reading Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo.

Her primary thesis is that not only has aid not helped to end poverty (a view also held by William Easterly: The White Man's Burden and The Elusive Quest for Growth, Peter Bauer, and others) but on balance, aid does more harm than good.

Moyo has a PhD in economics, interestingly obtained under the tutelage of foreign aid advocate, Dr. Paul Collier (The Bottom Billion).

The book is short and quickly glosses over multiple topics. For someone unfamilia
May 08, 2010 Lucy rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, non-fiction, africa
An extremely neoliberal approach to the problem of development in Africa.

Written by a Zambian economist - educated in the UK & US (you can tell) - the book outlines both the problems with current aid to Africa and suggests how the market can offer a better solution.

It was an extremely interesting read - not least the chapter on China - however, there is no disguising that it is a very one-sided view of the problems facing Africa. Noting the issues with infrastructure and liquidity, Moyo offe
Oct 15, 2010 Ed rated it it was ok
This little book has been a hit with economists who think that the only solution to grinding third world (African) poverty must be market-based. While it makes good points--particularly that humanitarian aid to Africa hasn't worked as a way to start economic development--those points get lost in Moyo's scattershot approach and lack of documentation. I am sure she has read everything available on the subject but there is no bibliography and only sketchy notes so she doesn't tell us where she got ...more
Jake B
Aug 08, 2012 Jake B rated it it was ok
I don't think the author ever really made the case for her proposal. She did however make some fairly compelling critiques of an aid model which may or may not reflect current reality.

My biggest disappointment is that her proposals (chiefly financing through bonds and FDI) while interesting are tossed out as though their benefits are self-evident. There were scattered sentences here and there which could have formed the nucleus of arguments for her position, but these often appeared late in the
Feb 01, 2011 Corey rated it really liked it
Dead Aid, in a well-researched and convincing manner, describes the past and current justifications for humanitarian and development aid in Africa, the drawbacks and failures of this method, and suggests several alternatives for the future. As a layman in the field, I appreciated the clear and coherent writing style and logical construction of the arguments. As a layman, though, I also lack the background to objectively judge the value of the alternate plans she proposes. I do have some uneducat ...more
Jul 06, 2009 Anna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who care about Africa
Recommended to Anna by: Wamucii
I liked this book a whole lot. Dambiso Moyo is pretty much saying something that most people think is CRAZY -- she is suggesting that we STOP sending aid to Africa. All of it. Why? Because, she says, it's clearly not working. It doesn't give African governments any incentive to change things, it leads to corruption, and "regular" people never see a dime of it anyway. We need change and one way of doing that is by cutting off aid entirely.

When I first heard this I thought it sounded nuts and tot
Derek Simon
Jul 20, 2012 Derek Simon rated it it was ok
As the title suggests, Dambisa Moyo's argument is that not only is foreign aid in Africa not working, it is actually the main cause of Africa's failure to reach its full economic and social potential.

This is an interesting and provocative thesis, and one that certainly challenges allot of mainstream thinking. However, if you are expecting that Dr. Moyo will challenge conventional thinking with some hard evidence, you may be dissapointed. The book mainly consists of some mainstream free market e
Beth Anne
Aug 15, 2010 Beth Anne rated it really liked it
It's pretty hard to argue with the case made by Dambisa Moyo in Dead Aid. Moyo criticizes the Jeffrey Sachses and the Bonos of the world, and calls for a shift away from (and ultimately, a cessation of) the aid-based development model championed by Western policymakers and pop stars. Dead Aid is a quick read, but packs a powerful punch, demonstrating how aid has done more harm than good to Africa and Africans, and how the answer to SUSTAINABLE and substantial economic growth actually lies in mar ...more
Apr 22, 2009 Emily added it
I started this book in '09 but picked it up and re-started it again last month, given the context of my hopeful Peace Corps deployment as a business volunteer in Africa. For anyone who isn't really comfortable with the idea of western governments sending billions of dollars in taxpayer money to Africa, where it often ends up in the corrupt hands of warlords, or with the idea, propagated by Bono et al. that Africa needs "saving" through lavish packages of aid, this is a book that will resonate lo ...more
Dec 20, 2012 Ardyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
A fascinating view of how government aid sent to Africa has not only been unsuccessful, but has actually done more harm than good to the African continent and its people. Moyo gives clear examples of how financial aid has been ineffective, along with many possible alternatives that will help further the continent's development and growth. A great read for both world leaders and citizens interested in international development.
Вікторія Слінявчук
Дамбиса Мойо - экономист с мировой известностью, уроженка Замбии, живет и работает в США.
Эта книга посвящена ее родному континенту - Африке. Название сложно перевести на русский язык. "Dead Aid" буквально "мертвая помощь", но здесь явная игра слов, намек на выражение "dead end" - тупик. Написана в 2009 году, но во многом по-прежнему актуальна.
Книга небольшая, там всего около 150 страниц текста, остальное - примечания, список литературы, алфавитный указатель.
Тем не менее, читать ее мне было сложн
Elizabeth Oladunni
Apr 10, 2014 Elizabeth Oladunni rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
Impressive, different and definitely a must read.

Moyo delves into the world of African aid and explores its effects and its impact on Africa. She comes to the conclusion that aid - most especially Bilateral/Multilateral aid is bad for Africa; instead of leading to Africa's development, it actually hinders progress.

For the first part of the book, Moyo backs her conclusion with facts and statistics on the effect of aid on post-colonial Africa and how the state of Africa after it first gained indep
Jul 04, 2016 Lydia rated it did not like it
Dead Aid is thematically divided into three parts:
1) Development aid has been detrimental to Africa's development
2) The proposed solutions to development aid
3) The conclusion - that all aid to Africa should be stopped with 5 years warning

Moyo's proposal that development aid has done more harm then good is not a new idea, and she cites many well know statistics as to why this is. The major issues include bad government policies and corruption. This section could have been expanded upon to be more
Jul 25, 2009 Kim rated it really liked it
I read this book for my research project about Overseas Development Aid (ODA) and had confirmed all the terrible conclusions about ODA that I had drawn from the many other books, articles, reports, etc, that I have read throughout my research. Moyo writes down the things that I'm too scared to say to other people: that the ODA system of the past 40 years is not working, that ODA is largely making things worse, that aid has largely helped horrific dictators stay in power and has assuaged the guil ...more
Czarny Pies
Sep 19, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who is interested in Africa.
Recommended to Czarny by: I saw the eloquent Ms. Moyo interviewed on the CBC,
I possess a CFA charter which means that I have a professional knowledge of banking and credit. Forget what the critics say. Dambisa Moya is not a black woman but a professional banker who knows how lending and banking work. Dambisa Moya's thesis is simple. If Western financial institutions applied the same principles to Africa that that they have always applied in their own countries, Africa would quickly become rich and prosperous.

It is unfortunate that Moyo allowed Niall Ferguson who is somet
May 13, 2010 Bill rated it liked it
This book is extremely troubling and worth reading for that reason alone. What Steve Berkman ("Gods of Lending") does at the 'micro' level - showing how aid agencies may be making things worse because their funds are so vulnerable to corruption - Moyo does at the 'macro' level. She returns again and again to the amount of aid that has been given to African countries over the last 5 decades and points to how little there is to show for it. The contrast between aid to Africa - which has an endless ...more
Jul 07, 2010 Elmhogar rated it really liked it
Current aid transfers have become a key factor in paralysis/corruption of African economies. Incentives for change? Not so much on the African side, but for Western economies, she uses the example of the political pressure used to push the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) 2000 through as a lever. Her Five Year Plan for cold turkey appears a bit brutal for the 'bottom.' But as she notes, the wretchedness continues for them regardless so might as well spin the wheels a bit to get out of t ...more
Nov 11, 2013 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alicia, Econ students, people interested in development, africans, arabs, activists
Recommended to Miriam by: goodreads
Shelves: eco-cool
It took me a while to finish this one but I found it really interesting.

Despite the fact of what you may think about an economics book, it is pretty easy to understand. Obviously there are some parts in which you get stuck, but it is not hard to read (en plus, not a long book given the amount of topics it has inside)
I like the fact that it starts with a bit of Aid history, it heps you understand the context and how not all aid is the same.
The ideas are good and, though I would like to read som
May 14, 2009 sisraelt rated it did not like it
A fresh perspective on development in Africa? Not so much. I don't necessarily agree that AID should be entirely eliminated but we can't deny how ineffective a majority of it has been due to corruption, poor leadership and numerous other reasons too many to cite. Do better conditions, implementations and monitoring need to be provided with AID? Yes! Do African countries need more sustainable and long-term methods of sustaining their economies? Yes. The answer is a combination of both AID and oth ...more
Sep 14, 2009 Bill rated it liked it
Her work is at times arrogant and overly simplistic, but the core thesis, that aid encourages corruption, undermines the emergence of a tax base from a middle class and frustates SMEs is well made (if by others who she quotes).

"Increases in foreign aid are correlated with declining domestic savings rates... private foreign capital and investment fall as aid rises...higher aid-induced consumption leads to an environment where much more money is chasing fewer goods... higher inflation." (p60)

I als
Jul 04, 2013 Llew rated it did not like it
Largely meandering with no coherent argument about why aid, itself, is bad. The largest thesis I found, one of the most highlighted quotes in the kindle version, was that aid promotes laziness by those who get too comfortable with the aid, simply sitting back "and waiting for the checks." This is essentially Reagan's welfare queen ideology, and I'm not sure how something so insulting to Africans got published and widely promoted. Bono's efforts to have debt nullified are dismissed as an insult s ...more
Roger Sigmon
Aug 28, 2012 Roger Sigmon rated it it was ok
The author has benefited from the very aid that she is arguing against.She comes from a wealthy family and lived a large portion of her life in the US and was educated in the UK and US and yet bashes those countries' attempts to help her homeland. It is very difficult to continue reading her extreme left approach to solving Africa's problems. Early in the book she suggests that a Republic or Democracy will not work, only a dictatorship. The main take away is she believes that Africa can only pro ...more
Puri Kencana Putri
Feb 17, 2014 Puri Kencana Putri rated it liked it
A very controversial book, by speaking of why Moyo doesn't believe with the idea of state functions, aid intervention. She puts more argumentation on free enterprises, innovation, a bit ingredient of micro finance as well as with a little help coming from China to the African people. A well read to bring another thought before I'm going to sleep.
Apr 02, 2009 Juha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in international development, economics and Africa.
This brief book has received a lot of attention since it was published just a few months ago earlier this year. The author attacks development aid to Africa with a vengeance, calling it the “silent killer of growth.” Despite the billions of dollars worth of development aid to Africa provided by Western governments over the past four decades, poverty and inequality have in fact increased on the continent. This is not the first book to criticize aid, but the fact that the author is an African woma ...more
Dec 30, 2013 kripsoo rated it it was amazing
Dead Aid is an interesting book provocative look at the foreign aid industry and its effects on Africa and Dambisa Moyo who formerly worked for Goldman Sachs and the World Bank, draws a conclusion not unknown to others in the field: development aid (as differentiated from humanitarian aid) has not only done little good for the nations of Africa but has indeed caused great harm There is no question that much of the aid intended to build economies in Africa has been grossly wasted, stolen and misu ...more
Babak Fakhamzadeh
Moyo is the Zambian economist poster child and, as an African standing up to be heard on the effectivity of aid, this is an interesting enough book in its own right, though if she would be trying to speak to an African audience or even African leaders, the format and platform she uses seems rather pointless (the book's twice the cost of a regular paperback). And the book is not very good.

The book consists of two parts. In the first part, Moyo tries to show that aid (to Africa) doesn't work, in
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Great African Reads: * April-June: Dead Aid 12 55 Oct 03, 2014 10:55PM  
  • The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good
  • The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It
  • Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail
  • Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe
  • The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa
  • More Than Good Intentions: How a New Economics Is Helping to Solve Global Poverty
  • The Challenge for Africa
  • Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet
  • Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa
  • The Trouble with Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn't Working
  • Tropical Gangsters: One Man's Experience with Development and Decadence in Deepest Africa
  • The Crisis Caravan: What's Wrong with Humanitarian Aid?
  • Development as Freedom
  • Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles
  • The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence
  • Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid
  • Enough: Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty
  • Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism

Dr. Dambisa Moyo is an international economist who writes on the macroeconomy and global affairs.

She is the author of the New York Times Bestsellers "Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa", "How The West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly And the Stark Choices Ahead" and "Winner Take All: China s Race for Resources and What It Means for the World".

Ms. Moyo

More about Dambisa Moyo...

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“In a perfect world what poor countries at the lowest rungs of economic development need is not a multi-party democracy, but in fact a decisive benevolent dictator to push through the reforms required to get the economy moving” 11 likes
“Africa is addicted to aid. For the past sixty years it has been fed aid. Like any addict it needs and depends on its regular fix, finding it hard, if not impossible, to contemplate existence in an aid-less world. In Africa, the West has found its perfect client to deal to.” 2 likes
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