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

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  5,428 ratings  ·  460 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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3.67  · 
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 ·  5,428 ratings  ·  460 reviews

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Apr 03, 2009 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 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
May 08, 2010 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
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
Oct 15, 2010 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
Clare Herbert
rated it it was ok
May 08, 2012
Beth Haynes
Jun 30, 2010 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
Jake B
Aug 08, 2012 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 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 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 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
Sara G.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Molto interessante la prima parte, nella quale l'autrice spiega le ragioni per cui gli aiuti all'Africa si sono rivelati inutili o addirittura dannosi. Continuare a riversare danaro nelle mani di governi corrotti e dittatori che pensano solo ad arricchirsi è pura follia, che nulla ha a che vedere con la solidarietà, ma piuttosto con l'interesse dei governi donatori/corruttori a ottenere il sostegno dei dittatori locali. Gli aiuti si rivelano letali anche quando si pongono come concorrenti agli i ...more
Czarny Pies
Sep 19, 2014 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
Beth Anne
Aug 15, 2010 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
Stephanie Josine
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this book because it seemed to articulate my own rising skepticism toward aid after a couple of years working in the international development sector. Dambisa Moyo makes some interesting points around corruption and impunity and this book serves a useful purpose as a polemic to shake up debate around how aid is done. Moyo is an economist not a writer, though, and she misses the opportunity to draw the reader into a clear and cohesive narrative with well-explored, well-explained ...more
Apr 22, 2009 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
Whitlaw Mugwiji
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved reading the book its clear and concise. I agree with her argument that aid has fostered laziness and corruption in Africa but I am struggling to come to terms with one of her solutions. She tends to believe that capital markets are able to avoid some of these failures and challenges.

I personally contend that the issue is with the conditions that come with aid and the thieves we have for leaders. With better leaders aid can be used to develop countries especially considering that the aid
Jul 04, 2013 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
Dec 20, 2012 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
Sarah Logan
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
A review of aid has been needed for a long time, as aid (referring specifically to loans to African governments from MFIs) arguably hasn’t brought sustainable economic growth or alleviated poverty as intended. Although I agree with some of her points, I’m very sceptical of most of her views. For example, she argues for use of bond markets for all African countries before admitting that many are a long way off from being able to access bond markets (as credit ratings and inclusion on indices are ...more
Oct 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
This is a provocative book, that’s for sure. However, many of the arguments fall flat. Casting aid itself as the villain in this story leads into some iffy territory, including the leveraging of the same, tired dependency language that welfare recipients in the US are often subject to. It’s obvious that the structures surrounding aid need work. By putting something else in her crosshairs, Moyo misses her mark.
Courtney Smith
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love. Everyone interested in community development, fundraising, and aid for developing countries should read this book. I would love to hand this book to all the major politicians and see if we could make some change out of it.
Bee Han
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting read, and definitely recommended to friends.
Matej Misik
While our intentions with aid may be pure, left almost completely unchecked, they have most probably led to almost a century of stagnation in Africa. For me two main questions emerged:
1/ How to best act on our social responsibility for a more equal & prosperous life for all, regardless of what continent we where born on. Based on this book its not going to be aid (probably so popular as its easy to comprehend and act on for us individuals)
2/ Taking a look at home it begs the need to look at
Marianna Altabbaa
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
لماذا تبقى فترة أفريقيا تعاني من الحروب، الفقر المدقع، المجاعات والفساد؟ وما السبب في استمرار هذا الوضع؟

جذور المشكلة لدى الكاتبة يكمن في المساعدات الخارجية والمنح التي تقدمها الدول للقارة.

وتشرح الكاتبة النموذج الغربي في تقديم المنح، وفشله في تحقيق التنمية التي ينشدها، وتقدم نموذج تنموي جديد مع آليات اقتصادية ليبرالية.
Apr 10, 2014 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 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 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
Elliard Shimaala
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I bought this book when it was making a buzz around the world and now it has become another great piece of workable solutions for Africa heading straight to the archives of our public libraries.

Dead Aid chronicles the birth of aid, its growth and how it has fucked up Africa. I recently re-read the book paying particular attention to Ms Moyo's argument which is, aid has not worked in Africa and may never work. According to her, the Initial intentions of aid were good but with the passage of time,
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Great African Reads: * April-June 2014: Dead Aid 12 63 Oct 03, 2014 10:55PM  
  • Reinventing Foreign Aid
  • 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
  • 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
  • Aid and Other Dirty Business: How Good Intentions Have Failed the World's Poor
  • Tropical Gangsters: One Man's Experience with Development and Decadence in Deepest Africa
  • Development as Freedom
  • The Challenge for Africa
  • The Road to Hell
  • The Crisis Caravan: What's Wrong with Humanitarian Aid?
  • The Trouble with Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn't Working
  • Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet
  • Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles
  • The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits
  • Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe
  • Race Against Time
  • The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS

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

“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” 13 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.” 3 likes
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