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What She Said.

From the New York Times:
Questions for Dambisa Moyo

The Anti-Bono

Interview by Deborah Solomon

Published: February 19, 2009

Q: As a native of Zambia with advanced degrees in public policy and economics from Harvard and Oxford, you are about to publish an attack on Western aid to Africa and its recent glamorization by celebrities. ‘‘Dead Aid,’’ as your book is called, is particularly hard on rock stars. Have you met Bono?

I have, yes, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last year. It was at a party to raise money for Africans, and there were no Africans in the room, except for me.

What do you think of him?

I’ll make a general comment about this whole dependence on “celebrities.” I object to this situation as it is right now where they have inadvertently or manipulatively become the spokespeople for the African continent.

You argue in your book that Western aid to Africa has not only perpetuated poverty but also worsened it, and you are perhaps the first African to request in book form that all development aid be halted within five years.

Think about it this way — China has 1.3 billion people, only 300 million of whom live like us, if you will, with Western living standards. There are a billion Chinese who are living in substandard conditions. Do you know anybody who feels sorry for China? Nobody.


February 22nd, 2009


Comment #1 by Khari on February 24, 2009 - 6:46pm

Makes sense. I work with the Whole Planet Foundation that provides microcredit loans to women in developing countries. The loans are usually no more than $300 and support free trade. It's all about hand-ups, not hand-outs.

Comment #2 by brownimani on February 25, 2009 - 7:13pm

It seems like such an oversimplification to me. All of Africas leaders are lazy and prefer the "check" to uplifting their people? I know many of Africas leaders who were trained in Western institutions and then returned home and treat their people as if they are beneath contempt, but all of them !? I don't believe that. How would she explain Haiti's situation. It is a perfect example and they too are African people. Whenever Haiti installs a people's champion other countries (USA-thank you Col. Powell) stage a coup and put their own puppet in his place. I think this is oversimplification. Pull yourself up by your boots straps rhetoric. Many factors play a roll here. I do agree though about dependence on foreign aid. That is usually how the West keeps undeveloped countries from developing.

Comment #3 by Super Amanda on February 25, 2009 - 8:01pm

I'm impressed but if she believes capitalism is the answer then I'm not sure if her watch has stopped. Still she is an important voice.

Comment #4 by rebecca on February 25, 2009 - 8:46pm
Comment #5 by Anonymous on March 4, 2009 - 11:25am

I actually do feel for the Chinese--who could not? Thinking and feeling people know there is a difference between governments and the people who live under them. Yes, the Chinese government (for now) has taken the lead in the global economy, but its people are suffering and exploited and experiencing incredible hardships, including land grabs. Dambisa Moyo seems far removed from the realities of her people--and of humanity in general. She comes off as a kind of Anne Coulter. It's easy to be the tough-ass chick when you're well connected and removed from daily realities. I don't think she's doing the diverse continent of Africa any favors. Perhaps she and Bono have more in common than she thinks.

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