Friday, March 06, 2009

Controversial economist Moyo takes aim at rock stars

The economist Dambisya Moyo is making a lot of news lately to drum up sales for her latest book "Dead Aid". As a part of the book tour, the economist criticized rock stars who promote African Aid such as Bono and Bob Geldof.

Moyo is of the opinion that foreign aid breeds corruption. She claims that aid makes African leaders more accountable to the donors than to the African public.

From the Sydney Morning Herald, Damiem Murphy records Moyo's complaint to rock starts who try to drum up aid for Africa.

Finally somebody has shown the chutzpah to say "enough already" to those wealthy world-weary worrywarts Bono and Bob Geldof. Sydney-bound Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian-born economist, says the singers have glamorised aid to Africa to such an extent that it is damaging the very people it is supposed to help.

Moyo's book Dead Aid has received huge publicity in the US and Europe, not least because she is been bold enough to speak out against the beatific Bono and the sainted Sir Bob and such feel-good moments as the Live Aid concert of 1985.

Moyo, who is heading to Asia to promote her book, hopes to get to Sydney next month. "Celebrities have raised millions, but it only served to further corrupt governments with the leaders able to steal money without suffering any consequences for years while at the same time the people have been made further aid-dependent. Today Africa is far poorer than it was 40 years ago."

Moyo argues that aid has not only perpetuated African poverty, but also worsened it, and thinks it would be a good idea for all aid to be halted within five years. A firm believer in market forces, she thinks African countries should look towards other sources of finance as India and China did over the years when billions was being given to Africans.

"You get the corruption - historically, leaders have stolen the money without penalty - and you get the dependency, which kills entrepreneurship. You also disenfranchise African citizens, because the government is beholden to foreign donors and not accountable to its people."

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