In this book Ms. Moyo first documents the fact that aid has not alleviated the poverty of Africa, has in fact worsened the situation in Africa, and why that is so. In the second part of the book she talks about alternatives to aid which have been tested and proven in other countries, and how they might work in Africa.
I found this book much more compelling than Ms. Moyo's other book, How the West Was Lost. I found a lot less to disagree with.
The statistics she marshals to demonstrate that aid has not worked, despite 60 years of trying and billions of dollars and various emphases for the aid, are truly startling and dismaying. "But has more than US$1 trillion in development assistance over the last several decades made African people better off? No. In fact, across the globe the recipients of this aid are worse off; much worse off. Aid has helped make the poor poorer, and growth slower." p. xix.
"Even the most cursory look at data suggests that as aid has increased over time, Africa's growth has decreased with an accompanying higher incidence of poverty. Over the past thirty years, the most aid-dependent countries have exhibited growth rates averaging minus 0.2 percent per annum." p. 46.
"And between 1970 and 1998, when aid flows to Africa were at their peak, poverty in Africa rose from 11 per cent to a staggering 66 per cent. That is roughly 600 million of Africa's billion people trapped in a quagmire of poverty--a truly shocking figure." p. 47.
Ms. Moyo offers many reasons why aid does not work, such as corruption in government (which is spurred on by aid), and many alternatives which could turn the tide for Africa, such as micro-financing. She recommends that those nations and institutions which give aid to Africa should decide to gradually decrease aid over five years, and then turn off the taps permanently.
One can only hope that this book finds its way into the hands of influential people, who act on its message. Aid has failed, but there is a better way.