She was introduced by her friend Robert Hiscox of Oare – who is a trustee of the Marlborough Brandt Group which organises the lectures.
The sub-title of Dead Aid reveals the main thrust of her thesis:Why aid is not working and how there's another way for Africa.
Dambisa Moyo told her very attentive and unusually young audience that no nation had been brought to development and economic growth through aid. Her real charges are levelled against state to state aid – not against humanitarian or charitable and individual aid.
State aid has poured one trillion dollars into Africa over the past fifty years and still seventy per cent of Africa’s population have to survive on less than a dollar a day.
She explained that state aid fuels corruption, debt burden, inflation and aid is too often linked to war or civil strife - all of which militated against the effectiveness of this vast inflow of funds.
Dr Moyo, flanked by Robert Hiscox (left) and Dr Nick Maurice (right)Dr Moyo said “The greatest problem with state id is that it allows governments to abdicate their responsibilities.” When services are supplied by foreign agencies “the sanctity of the democratic contract is infringed” and then governments ignore what their people want.
Dambisa Moyo outlined her favoured steps to improve Africa’s economies: more trade, the encouragement of foreign direct inward investment and making Africa part of the international financial system. The latter was already beginning to happen with some countries issuing bonds to support their development.
She believes the economic progress shown by some of Africa’s countries has been despite state aid not because of it. She slightly surprised herself by ending with a quotation not from an economist but from George W Bush: “We should beware of the soft bigotry of low expectations.” Africa can do it if the international community allows it to happen.
In answering a series of questions from the floor, Dr Moyo took delight in explaining that while “The western media create a very negative picture of what China is doing in Africa”, polling has show that a vast majority of Africans approve of China’s actions – which come without any proselytising in favour of religions or democracy. One of her other books is titled Winner Take All: China’s race for resources and what it means for us.
And at the end of the lecture a long queue formed to buy her books and ask her to sign them.
With grateful thanks to Marlborough News Online for this text
and to Chris Caswell for the images.
The Marlborough Brandt Group (MBG) was founded in 1981 by a group of people in a small Wiltshire town who wanted to learn more about the ways of life of people in other parts of the world, and to get a better understanding of the problems of development.
In 1982 we established a link in Gunjur in The Gambia, West Africa and since then, there has been a steady flow of people between the two communities. In particular we send volunteers to spend time working with development projects for a period of three months. At the same time we have volunteers from Gunjur gaining experience in their particular field in Marlborough.
All volunteers, whether they are from UK or from The Gambia, live with families immersed in the life of the community. Our volunteers find that their experience in Gunjur is one that stays with them for the rest of their lives. Most have kept in contact with Gunjur and some have gone into careers related to the development world.
MBG has also been involved with a number of development projects in Gunjur. These are now under the management of the Trust Agency for Rural Development (TARUD) who are also responsible for the volunteers while they are in Gunjur, along with the Gunjur Link Committee (GLC).read more