Week 7: Exploring Moyo Part 2

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I was surprised at how young Moyo is, according to the picture posted on her website. For a young woman, she has an extremely impressive resume that includes: an undergraduate chemistry degree and MBA in finance from American University; a masters degree from Harvard and PhD in economics from Oxford University; contributing editor to CNBC and contributing writer to the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal; obviously, an author; a board member of Barclays Bank, the financial services group, SABMiller, the global brewer, and Barrick Gold, the global miner; an economist at Golman Sachs; consultant to the World Bank; and was named by TIME Magazine one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World”. This gave me more trust in what she said in her book, even though it seems like it stems from political views opposite of mine.

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Moyo conducting a TED Talk

When Moyo quotes a critic of the western aid model and says, “my voice can’t compete with an electric guitar.” (27), the issue she is discussing is about the rise of glamour aid, or aid when celebrities or other prominent people like the Pope or philanthropists, which people use to be credited to an influx in aid to Africa. Moyo sees this as a problem because these people don’t live in Africa, they merely go visit, donate money and get to leave, while the people effected stay there and have to suffer. As we had seen in George Ayittey’s TED talk, the government in Africa at the moment is ineffective and corrupt. So, what good is it going to be for celebrities to hand off money to these “governments” when they’re so bad at functioning? Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagme, agrees with Moyo and Ayittey. He said that aid went toward “geopolitical and strategic rivalries and economic interests,” and not used for “developmental outcomes” in Africa. When he mentions geopolitical rivalries, I think he means that aid causes more conflict and rivalry between African economies, instead of making them get along and work better together.

Moyo says geography, history and climate (among other things) for aid not working. Two reasons she says that aid hasn’t worked is because:

  1. People believe SSA countries are rich in natural resources, but don’t realize that this doesn’t mean innate success for the countries. It just gives the countries another reason to be more corrupt and have an influx in crime. Think of my oil-rich countries, Angola and Nigeria. In Adrian Gonzalez’s journal, “Petroleum and its Impact on Three Wars in Africa: Angola, Nigeria and Sudan”, Gonzalez studies how wars within those countries are directly effected by their oil supplies. He says:

“Firstly, it will portray how oil has prolonged the Angolan civil war through one side’s control and subsequently the revenue of this resource. Secondly, through an examination of Nigeria it will explore how oil has precipitated a low-intensity clash between local people’s claims to oil revenues on the one hand and the national government and multi-national oil corporations on the other.”

  1. It is not the first time in history that Africans are being blamed for not being able to develop their own countries. Moyo describes what seems like is the same idea as Cheetahs vs. Hippos. She said aid will keep Africans in their perpetual hippo-like state, with waiting for others to give aid and doing the work for them.

A couple weeks ago, when I discussed the Cheetah leaders in both Africa and Angola, it seems like more of those types of people are what SSA countries need, to bind together, and work for the greater good of their countries, without getting so many outside sources involved.

Sachs describes the poverty trap as something that should have a clear end in sight and lumps Africa together in one group, rather than different groups or different countries. That, indeed, is a fault of his theories, but I think his ideas with aid, at this time given the current state of Africa, is more viable than Moyo’s. He quotes Moyo in this Huffington Post article, saying:

“Finally, with respect to Mr. Sachs’ remark that I would see nothing wrong with denying US$10 in aid to an African child for an anti-malarial bed net — even labeling me as cruel; I say, if working towards a sustainable solution where Africans can make their own anti-malaria bed-nets (thereby creating jobs for Africans and a real chance for continents economic prospects) rather than encouraging all and sundry to dump malaria nets across the continent (which incidentally, put Africans out of business), then I am guilty as charged. Don’t forget that the over 60 percent of Africans that are under the age of 24 need jobs not sympathy.”

I’m not really certain that Moyo’s suggestion is a viable alternative for breaking the poverty trap Africa faces at this point. Sure, Africans can be physically capable of working a job, but there aren’t enough jobs in SSA to work right now given the size of the countries’ populations. She is posing a right-wing view, with no stable economies to work with.

Sources (besides Dead Aid by Moyo):

Gonzalez, Adrian, “Petroleum and its Impact on Three Wars in Africa: Angola, Nigeria and Sudan”, 2010, http://www.bradford.ac.uk/ssis/peace-conflict-and-development/issue-16/petroleumangolanigeriasudan.pdf

Sachs, Jeffery, McArthur, John. “Moyo’s Confused Attack on Aid for Africa,” 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/moyos-confused-attack-on_b_208222.html

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