Taking Global Poverty Seriously: A Speech by Paul Farmer

By: Paul Farmer - Haiti Liberte

The following are excerpts from a speech delivered by Dr. Paul Farmer of the Harvard Medical School to the Inaugural Millennium Campus Conference of the Global Poverty Initiative at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston on Apr. 19. Farmer is the founder of Partners in Health, a world-wide healthcare network which began with a clinic in Cange on Haiti's Central Plateau. The wide-ranging speech, delivered to an audience of 800, was entitled This Is Not a Hobby: Taking Global Poverty Seriously.
Here we are again at MIT, talking about-among other things-how we can bring technology to bear on the persistent problem of global poverty.... We need solutions and a plan to implement them in precisely those parts of the world that have never benefitted from the remarkable innovations in technology that have made life better for so many of us. Why have these innovations never reached the bottom billion? There are many reasons, and they are complex, but one of the reasons is that too little attention has been paid to the hard work of actually bringing these advances into the villages and slums in which the poor live. To be frank, too many people have treated such efforts as a sort of hobby - a solar panel here, an ingeniously designed water pump there, an alchemical miracle that turns turnips into fuel over there.
Those gathered here today know that these scatter-shot efforts, no matter how innovative, will not suffice to reverse the awful trends now evident around the world. New plagues - AIDS, drug-resistant tuberculosis and hospital-acquired "superbugs" of all sorts - sweep rapidly across vast swathes of land, blurring national boundaries. Old maladies that should've been history, like smallpox, remain rooted in long-standing and increasingly unjust social and economic structures. Malaria, hookworm, and other parasites claim lives or simply drain energy from hundreds of millions; it's hard to work when you're tired and anemic or pregnant a dozen times before the age of 30. There are still rich people and poor people, but most economists agree that social inequalities, both global and local, have grown rapidly over the past three decades. The earth itself is tired and malnourished. Man-made environmental crises dry up lakes, wash topsoil into the seas and smother reefs, and-from what we can tell-spark huge storms. A billion people do not have safe drinking water. A war built on lies will cost, one Nobel laureate economist tells us, three trillion dollars. (...)

This conference draws together health, education, technology, economics, and public policy - and all are necessary components of this global fight for food. If you've been reading the paper recently you will have seen news of the food riots happening in Haiti. This is not just a problem of rampant malnutrition - though that is of course a huge problem where we work in the Central Plateau and most of the country. It is, rather, a problem of global collusion, unfair trade agreements, and crazy agricultural subsides. I was in Haiti during the years the country was pushed, by countries with their own ridiculously high ag supports for rice and others cereals, to drop import tariffs on rice and sugar. Within less than two years, it became impossible for local farmers to compete with what the Haitians called "Miami rice." The whole market in Haiti fell apart as cheap, US-subsidized rice -- some of it in the form of "food aid" -- flooded the market. There was violence -- "rice wars" -- and lives were lost. Within that time, Haiti, once the world's largest exporter of sugar and other tropical produce to Europe, began importing even sugar-- from US-controlled sugar production in the Dominican Republic and Florida. It was terrible to see Haitian farmers put out of work and all this sped up the downward spiral that led to this month's food riots. Within a decade of all of these pressures to "open up Haitian markets," Haiti was still under intense pressure from the so-called international community to privatize. In the mid-90s, when U.S. support for President Aristide's return was linked to continued privatization and removal of any trade protections that might have helped the farmers, most of them working small plots of land, become competitive, Oxfam declared Haiti's economy one of the most "open" in the world. This at a time when US agribusiness continued to enjoy ludicrous levels of subvention.

This is an awful story that is hidden away from all the headlines of rioting Haitians and it reminds us that no one group of innovators, not even agricultural whizzes who can come up with drought-resistant, super-high-yield, supersize-me maize or wheat, will be enough to solve the global problem of food insecurity. It will require technical innovation and a movement for social justice. That's what we need to build here, and what the generation now in college here needs to take on. (...)

Medicine and public health will not solve the world's problems, but can offer part of the solution to some of them. What's been shocking to me over the past 25 years is the lightning speed at which many policymakers... decide that a complex intervention is "too difficult" or "not cost-effective in Haiti or Africa," or "not sustainable." In microfinance parlance, many of my patients are "poor credit risks," but aren't they the very people we claim to serve in the first place? And this is why I chose to make a loyalist's critique of our movement to end global poverty: we need to be aware that each of the terms and concepts and tools we've developed can be used to deny the destitute access to goods and services that should be rights, not commodities. They're not full participants in the magic market, after all. How many times have you heard that people will value something more if they pay for it? And yet how many times have you seen data showing this is so regarding vaccines, bednets, or external fixators after picking up a landmine? Does anyone really believe that a mother loves her newborn more if she's had to pay some sort of users' fee to access prenatal and obstetric care? (...)

Look around this room and you will see a conspicuous absence of poor people. You'll see people of every hue and background, but not the poor. And my comment is not really a critique: what matters is less that we invite them to MIT and more that we fight for their right to survive and to become themselves social entrepreneurs. Without them, the movements we seek to build, and the innovations we seek to share, will not succeed. If a movement can have two Achilles heels-and I know I've mangled the metaphor-this is the second one. We cannot build an environmental movement or a movement for sustainable development that does not have the social and economic rights of the poor at the center of the movement. And they are decidedly not there yet, for the environmental movement has for too long been a movement of the privileged. (...)

Berthold Brecht, who is almost always right, has argued that "the compassion of the oppressed for the oppressed is indispensable. It is the world's one hope." I fear that, at this late date, an additional kind of solidarity is necessary. A social-justice movement that links the rich world and the poor, MIT to the villages in Haiti and Rwanda to which I return again soon , the movement that links concern for the earth with respectful solidarity towards its poorest inhabitants, is our last great hope for a world marked by less suffering and violence and premature death. It's our last great hope for the generations to come, and for our own children, privileged though they may be.

“AID IRONIES” [link]

By Jeffrey Sachs

Posted: May 24, 2009 01:23 PM


The debate about foreign aid has become farcical. The big opponents of aid today are Dambisa Moyo, an African-born economist who reportedly received scholarships so that she could go to Harvard and Oxford but sees nothing wrong with denying $10 in aid to an African child for an anti-malaria bed net. Her colleague in opposing aid, Bill Easterly, received large-scale government support from the National Science Foundation for his own graduate training.

I certainly don't begrudge any of them the help that they got. Far from it. I believe in this kind of help. And I'd find Moyo's views cruel and mistaken even she did not get the scholarships that have been reported (Easterly mentioned his receipt of NSF support in the same book in which he denounces aid). I begrudge them trying to pull up the ladder for those still left behind. Before peddling their simplistic concoction of free markets and self-help, they and we should think about the realities of life, in which all of us need help at some time or other and in countless ways, and even more importantly we should think about the life-and-death consequences for impoverished people who are denied that help.
Nine million children die each year of extreme poverty and disease conditions which are almost all preventable or treatable or both. Impoverished countries, with impoverished governments, can't solve these problems on their own. Yet with help they can. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, and the Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunizations are both saving lives by the millions, and at remarkably low cost. Goldman Sachs, Ms. Moyo's former employer, gives out more in annual bonuses to its workers than the entire rich world gives to the Global Fund each year to help save the lives of poor children. And when Goldman Sachs got into financial trouble it got bailed-out by the US Government. Rich people have an uncanny ability to oppose aid for everybody but themselves.

Recently Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, wrote an op-ed for the Financial Times praising Moyo's fresh thinking. This is extraordinary. His government has depended on aid for more than a decade. Nearly half the budget revenues currently come from aid. Rwanda currently imports around $800 million of merchandise each year, but only earns $250 million or so in exports. So how does it do it? Aid, of course, helped to pay for around $450 million of the imports. Without foreign aid, Rwanda's pathbreaking public health successes and strong current economic growth would collapse. Kagame's op-ed did not help FT readers to understand this.

Americans are predisposed to like the anti-aid message. They believe that the poor have only themselves (or perhaps their governments) to blame. They overestimate the actual aid from the US by around thirty times, so they imagine that vast sums are flowing to Africa that are then squandered. Many believe, typically in private, that by saving African children we would be creating a population explosion, so better to let the kids die now rather than grow up hungry. (I'm asked about this constantly, usually in whispers, after lectures). They don't understand the most basic point of worldwide experience: when children survive rather than die in large numbers, households choose to have many fewer children, in fact more than compensating for the decline in child mortality. Africa's high child mortality is ironically a core reason why Africa's population is continuing to soar rather than stabilize as in other parts of the world.

Of course, most Americans know little about the many crucially successful aid efforts, because Moyo, Easterly, and others lump all kinds of programs - the good and the bad - into one big undifferentiated mass, rather than helping people to understand what is working and how it can be expanded, and what is not working, and should therefore be cut back. Nor do Americans hear that many poor countries graduate from the need for aid over time, precisely because aid programs help to spur economic growth and successfully prepare countries to tackle future priorities. US aid to India for increased food production in the 1960s paved the way for India's growth takeoff afterwards. There are countless other examples in which countries have benefited from aid and then graduated, including Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Israel, and others. Egypt is on that path today, and Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, and others will be as well if both donors and recipients carry forward with a sensible assistance strategies.


Here are some of the most effective kinds of aid efforts: support for peasant farmers to help them grow more food, childhood vaccines, malaria control with bed nets and medicines, de-worming, mid-day school meals, training and salaries for community health workers, all-weather roads, electricity supplies, safe drinking water, treadle pumps for small-scale irrigation, directly observed therapy for tuberculosis, antiretroviral medicines for AIDS sufferers, clean low-cost cook stoves to prevent respiratory disease of young children. Shipment of food from the US is a kind of aid that should be cut back, with more attention on growing local food in Africa.

Out of every $100 of US national income, our government currently provides the grand sum of 5 cents in aid to all of Africa. Out of that same $100, we have found around $10 for the stimulus package and bank bailouts and another $5 for the military. It is not wonderful that what has caught the public's eye are proposals to cut today's 5 cents to 4 or 3 cents or perhaps zero.

“Aid Ironies: A Response to Jeffrey Sachs” [link]

By Dambisa Moyo

Posted: May 26, 2009 02:52 PM


Ahead of the publication of my book Dead Aid, an author friend of mine cautioned me about responding to opponents who found it necessary to color their criticism with personal attacks. This, he argued, is a tried and tested way of side-stepping the issues and providing a smoke screen when faced with a valid argument.

Jeffrey Sachs's latest posting is just the latest example of using this tactic to obfuscate the facts and avoid addressing the fundamental issues regarding aid's manifest failure to deliver on its promise of generating growth and alleviating poverty in Africa.

And though I am responding here in order to refute his arguments, as a fellow economist, I intend to rely on logic and evidence to make my argument and show Mr. Sachs the professional courtesy that he has failed to show to me.

Development is not that hard. We now have over 300 years of evidence of what works (and what doesn't) in increasing growth, alleviating poverty and suffering. For example, we know that countries that finance development and create jobs through trade and encouraging foreign (and domestic) investment thrive.

We also know that there is no country -- anywhere in the world -- that has meaningfully reduced poverty and spurred significant and sustainable levels of economic growth by relying on aid. If anything, history has shown us that by encouraging corruption, creating dependency, fueling inflation, creating debt burdens and disenfranchising Africans (to name a few), an aid-based strategy hurts more that it helps.

It is true that interventions such as the Marshall plan in Europe and the Green Revolution in India played vital roles in economic (re)construction. However, the key and (often ignored) difference between such aid interventions and those plaguing Africa today is that the former were short, sharp and finite, whereas the latter are open-ended commitments with no end in sight. The problem with an open-ended system is, of course, that African governments have no incentive to look for other, better, ways of financing their development.

Mr Sachs knows this; how do I know? He taught me while I was studying at Harvard, during which he propounded the view that the path to long-term development would only be achieved through private sector involvement and free market solutions.

Perhaps what I had not gleaned at that time was that Mr. Sachs' development approach was made for countries such as Russia, Poland and Bolivia, whereas the aid- dependency approach, with no accompanying job creation, was reserved for Africa.

Mr. Sachs chooses to ignore that relying on aid at a time when the United States is facing 10 percent unemployment rate and Germany (another leading donor) could contract by as much as 6 percent, is a fool hardy strategy. The aid interventions that Mr. Sachs lauds as evidence of success are merely band aid solutions that do nothing to lift Africa out of the mire -- leaving the continent alive but half drowning, still unable to climb out on its own.

Yes an aid-funded scholarship will send a girl to school, but we ought not to delude ourselves that such largesse will make her country grow at the requisite growth rates to meaningfully put a dent in poverty. No surprise, then, that Africa is on the whole worse off today than it was 40 years ago. For example in the 1970's less that 10 percent of Africa's population lived in dire poverty -- today over 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africa lives on less than US$2 a day.

There is a more fundamental point -- what kind of African society are we building when virtually all public goods -- education, healthcare, infrastructure and even security -- are paid for by Western taxpayers? Under the all encompassing aid system too many places in Africa continue to flounder under inept, corrupt and despotic regimes, who spend their time courting and catering to the demands of the army of aid organizations.
Like everywhere else, Africans have the political leadership that we have paid for. Thanks to aid, a distressing number of African leaders care little about what their citizens want or need -- after all it's the reverse of the Boston tea-party -- no representation without taxation.
In conclusion let me respond to four of Mr. Sachs' specific points:

1) Regarding Rwanda: It is absolutely true that Rwanda depends on substantial amounts of foreign aid. The point is that President Paul Kagame is working tirelessly to wean his county off of aid dependency (which is precisely the approach to exiting aid that I have been arguing for). To focus on the point that Rwanda relies on aid is to miss the more interesting point: Here in a country where over 70 percent of the government budget is aid supported, the leadership is pushing for less, not more aid -- what is it Mr. Sachs that President Kagame sees that you do not see? Let's face it, the leadership could guilt-trip us all into giving it even more aid after the international community turned its back on the country at its time of need during the 1994 genocide, yet it does not.

2) Mr. Sachs claims that I, alongside the compassionate Bill Easterly, lump all kinds of [aid] programs in one undifferentiated mass. I would point Mr. Sachs to page 7 of my book which explicitly makes a delineation between different types of aid.

3) Regarding the "countless" examples in which countries have benefited from aid then graduated: Here I would point Mr. Sachs to page 37 of my book to a discussion of these countries; The difference again with these success stories is that they did not rely on aid to the degree and length that African countries do today. Moreover, they very quickly adopted the market-based, job-creating strategies outlined in my book, for which Mr. Sachs seems to have an apparent aversion, in favour of the status quo.

4) 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.

As a final plea, I urge Mr. Sachs to heed the words of his former boss, Mr. Kofi Annan when he says "The determination of Africans, and genuine partnership between Africa and the rest of the world, is the basis for growth and development."

Dambisa Moyo is the author of Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa (Farrar Straus & Giroux); www.dambisamoyo.com

Moyo's Confused Attack on Aid for Africa [link]

Jeffrey Sachs and John W. McArthur

Posted: May 27, 2009 04:16 PM

Ms. Dambisa Moyo's recent Huffington Post article exposes the confusions that underlie her slashing attacks on aid. Most importantly, she seems to believe that sub-Saharan Africa was economically prosperous and then was pushed into poverty by aid. She makes the following statement: "No surprise, then, that Africa is on the whole worse off today than it was 40 years ago. For example in the 1970's less than 10 percent of Africa's population lived in dire poverty -- today over 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africa lives on less than US$2 a day."

Let's parse that statement for a moment. World Bank researchers Shaohua Chen and Martin Ravallion prepare the benchmark under-$2-a-day historical headcount data going back to 1981. According to their figures, headcount poverty under $2 a day was 74 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa in 1981 and 73 percent in 2005. Other prominent estimates that go back to 1950 or 1970 also contradict Moyo's statement, by showing high and persistent poverty. All of the macroeconomic time series by Maddison, Summers and Heston, and others tell the same story: the majority of Africa's population started out impoverished at the time of national independence in the 1960s and 1970s, and a majority remains impoverished till today.

If we move beyond the GNP and income measures, the enormity of Africa's long-term poverty challenges become even more apparent. As we have documented elsewhere, Africa's literacy, agricultural productivity and urbanization rates were very low in 1970. Rural poverty was pervasive. Africa's road coverage, electrification, rail network, and other infrastructure were sparse at best and typically non-existent in rural areas. Aid did not kill Africa.

Despite the persistence of poverty, many conditions in Africa have in fact improved in recent decades. Child mortality has declined from 229 per 1,000 births in 1970 to 146 per 1,000 births in 2007. Adult literacy has increased from around 27 percent in 1970 to around 62 percent in 2007. Primary school net enrolments have increased from around 53 percent in 1991 to around 70 percent in 2007. Aid has played a helpful role in this. Yet aid was very limited, averaging around $35 per African per year since 1960. Aid has never been properly resourced or targeted for a focused period to end the poverty trap and thereby to break the dependency on aid.

Africa's differences with other regions lie not in aid, but in circumstances and history. Unlike South Asia, for example, Africa has not yet had a Green Revolution of higher food yields, the formative event of India's economic takeoff from the late 1960s. India is a civilization of great river systems and large-scale irrigation, thanks to the Himalayan snowmelt and glacier melt and the annual monsoon rains. Africa is a continent of rain-fed (non-irrigation) agriculture. The original Green Revolution, in which India's food output per land area rose markedly, came in the irrigated systems of Asia, not the rain-fed systems of Africa.

US aid heavily subsidized India's Green Revolution while World Bank opposition to aid for African agriculture from the 1980s until recently played an opposite and adverse role, holding back a similar breakthrough for Africa. It was the absence of aid for African agriculture rather than its presence that cost Africa mightily. And one can go on. Africa's tropical disease burden, heavy concentration of landlocked countries, decline of aid for infrastructure during the 1980s and 1990s, and misguided attempts by Africa's creditors to collect debt servicing under "structural adjustment programs" during the 1980s and 1990s all played their part.

Moyo now campaigns against the kinds of aid that can keep millions of African children from dying or being maimed for a lifetime through the consequences of serious episodes of disease. She advocates cutting the aid that has allowed more than 2 million Africans access to life-saving AIDS treatment, since governments are involved. Almost unimaginably, she opposes the distribution of anti-malaria bed nets for Africa's hundreds of millions of young people on the alleged grounds that it has put bed net producers in Africa out of business. In her own words:

"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."

The confusion underlying this remark is staggering. There are hundreds of millions of Africans at risk of a killer disease, around two hundred million cases of the disease, and around 1 million preventable deaths per year, yet Moyo is opposed to urgent help if nets are not produced in Africa. She seems both unmoved by the massive suffering and unaware that Africa has gone from producing exactly zero long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) a few years ago to several million per year now, with thousands of jobs in the local industry, as a result of the demand for nets created by aid for malaria control.

She takes no note of the fact that global aid for malaria control is also training tens of thousands and soon hundred of thousands of rural Africans as community health workers; and seems to be unaware that unchecked malaria has long devastated Africa's economy while malaria control is finally emptying the hospitals, putting mothers and fathers back to work and children back to school, and contributing to the boost in Africa's productivity and economic growth of recent years. She says that if her position against aid for LLINs is deemed to be cruel, then yes, she is "guilty as charged."

Moyo is not offering a reasoned or evidence-based position on aid. Everybody that deals with aid wants to promote financial transparency and market-led growth, not aid dependency. We and others have recommended many successful mechanisms to limit corruption and ensure that aid reaches the recipients, as is happening in the disease-control programs. The purpose of aid should indeed be to break the poverty trap through targeted investments in an African Green Revolution; disease control; children's education; core infrastructure of roads, power, safe drinking water and sanitation, and broadband; and business development, including microfinance and rural diversification among impoverished smallholder farmers.
Moyo wants to cut aid off dramatically, even if that leaves millions to die. African leaders - like President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Dr. Awa Coll-Seck of Roll Back Malaria, and Ministers Charity Ngilu and Beth Mugo of Kenya - have fought for Africa's poor and have used aid to save lives and help economies to prosper. These leaders disagree fundamentally and urgently with Moyo's attacks. They recommend more aid, fully accountable and properly targeted, to meet urgent needs.

Since the record shows that Africa has long been struggling with rural poverty, tropical diseases, illiteracy, and lack of infrastructure, the right solution is to help address these critical needs through transparent and targeted public and private investments. This includes both more aid and more market financing. That combination will indeed ensure that private markets and African entrepreneurship can succeed.



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- +Richard Hood I'm a Fan of Richard Hood I'm a fan of this user 2 fans permalink
From reading ”The End of Poverty” my understanding of the type of aid Sachs talks about is that which is needed to bring people up to a level of survival where they can begin to do what Moyo talks about.


I recall the example in the book of the farmer who raises barely enough food to feed his family and not enough in times of drought. Give that farmer seed, fertilizer and water and he can grow more than he needs, sell the excess, then begin to buy his own fertilizer and seed.


Of course the solution is for Africans to do things for themselves. Sachs was simply arguing that you cannot do that while you are dying of starvation and disease.
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 03:50 PM on 6/09/2009
- +AhnAmuru I'm a Fan of AhnAmuru I'm a fan of this user 12 fans permalink

Ok, fancy folks, here's the deal - Africa's problem is government, government and even more government.

Moyo's thesis, at a cursory glance, places the onus on African governments to sort themselves out - immediately; the others implicitly assume protracted patronage. Still, the expected result is the same.


I'll concede that Moyo's suggestion would result in massive collateral damage, but hey - "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste." R.E.
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 01:48 PM on 6/09/2009
- +NancyA I'm a Fan of NancyA I'm a fan of this user permalink
(continued from previous 2 comments)

My adopted country has been literally run by the World Bank and IMF for 40 years now, and it is sliding downhill. You can see aid money - all invested in luxury villas. Education has collapsed, health care never really took off, there is almost no industry, no farming, only trade, i.e. massive imports of food and consumer goods. I tried to compete. You can't.

What Africa needs is for commodity prices to be fair (all of them, not just Max Havelaar), for the price of copper and iron to be stable, for desert countries to be able to apply different policies than those that work in Northern Europe, for Western powers to stop giving outrageous subsidies to their farmers and pretending that African farming is not profitable, and so on. Are ""donor"" countries willing to do that


Aid is a smoke screen designed to hypnothize Western Christian consciences. "Give, give, give, help, help, help, aid, aid aid, be good, be good, be good, save hungry African children". It also misleads poor Africans who think that the West is going to Give them
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 11:25 AM on 6/02/2009
- +NancyA I'm a Fan of NancyA I'm a fan of this user permalink
(continued from previous post)

Ms Moyo, I liked the first half of your book, but in the second half you assume that it is a phone call, i.e. an initiative, from - again - "donors" that can stop aid, and one could suspect you of bowling for a World Bank or IMF policy designed to make more money from financing poor countries. But would that necessarily lead to a transparent political system and an educated population with a representative parliament?

The real problem is elsewhere, and it is peeps out occasionally out of sentences in three authors but is Mr Perkins' central subject : do Western powers really want Africa to develop? Is "aid" well-intentioned but just misguided? Even Obama, whom we like so much, showed the wolf's ear in his inaugural speech when he spoke of "access to resources". Africa needs good Governments (not World Bank "Good Governance" project budgets and waffle), that will conduct good economic policy, and for it is true that Africa needs a middle-class. Africans need to be able to farm, manufacture, do business like people in other countries, but they can't because they are required to globalize before they even exist, because the "aided" economy functions in "Projects" and because any good leader is usually deposed or murdered. Any attempt is nipped in the bud, and it is not accidental.

(continued)
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 11:24 AM on 6/02/2009
- +NancyA I'm a Fan of NancyA I'm a fan of this user permalink
My contribution is a bit long, so it will be divided into several comments :

As someone having lived and run a local industry in Africa for a long time, and spoken with very many visiting 'experts', it seems to me that Jeffrey Sachs, Dambisa Moyo, Joseph Stiglitz and John Perkins are holding different corners of a problem and acting like the Indian blind men feeling the elephant. They are all right - to an extent. But unfortunately I think the one that must ring most true to Africans is John Perkins.

Dambisa Moyo addresses only the source of funding for development, Jeffrey Sachs addresses extreme poverty and the poverty trap, Joseph Stiglitz worries about the organisation, theories and workings of the Bretton Woods machines.

Mr Sachs is right about extreme poverty. But if we can make an analogy with the surge in Irak, additional clout worked only because at the same time there was a change of tactics. (By the way, please remove Israel from countries that got weaned from aid - that small wealthy country still receives billions of dollars more than anyone else).

Ms Moyo is right about the corrupting effect of aid, as a rent that breeds Governments that only work to keep aid flowing, because it ends up in their pockets, and don't care about the fate of their sick and hungry and idle people. But what incentive is there for a corrupt African leader/Government to incur higher costs and scrutiny to get money?

(continued)
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 11:22 AM on 6/02/2009
- +Marina Flox I'm a Fan of Marina Flox I'm a fan of this user permalink
The question is that in one hand we are creating the conditions to continue being a world that is increasing day by day the number of poor people and increasing the account of a short rich people and we are creating like a quick solution (without thinking in the future) more "occidental societies" and this system can increase wealth but not just not generate a distribution of her by herself and also it generate more disparities. An example is the green revolution mentioned by Mr. Sachs, in Asia, it could created richness but just for people who could do things, people with land and the system then helped to improve poor's people life but not to the poorest people, because they hadn't any land!

Then like a sticking plaster we treat to solution it giving aids (sometimes without sense, without coordination..) but the problem it is not aids, it is not african people, it is not just corruption.. the problem is the system and we.

Luckily the system is possible to change it and solution is in our hands also.
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 07:13 PM on 5/31/2009
- +Marina Flox I'm a Fan of Marina Flox I'm a fan of this user permalink
Hi all, first of all: sorry for my basic english, I hope that it will be enough.

I value a lot the book "end of poverty", and I understand that the reasons used in this argument by Mr. Sachs are right, I mean, I think that everyone want less dies (even Ms. Moyo) and I think that we must be seriously helping, then we must to create the institutions to manage it, and without doubts give more but...the problem is that we can not concentrate just in one point.

We can not concentrate just in the corruption, not only in the amount of aids, not only in the commerce...

Occidental people want to help, and I think that african people need help but we can not to stay in this thing, it is not enough because also we have to see the cost of that help and here is the problem that Ms. Moyo shows (I think) and it is a common point with Mr. Sachs, because he also recognise that FMI and BM don't do things correctly, the difference is that seems that Mr. Sachs thinks that the cause is just a question based in the ignorance, don't you? and Ms. Moyo doesn't believe this.

(AND I CONTINUE...)
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 07:12 PM on 5/31/2009
- +Makoma I'm a Fan of Makoma I'm a fan of this user permalink
First of all, Moyo never claimed that Africa was prosperous, only that it was better off before the rise of the aid industry. On most indicators, that is true.

The aid industry is neo-colonialism, couched in a racist notion that Africans (and those of us in the diaspora) are children who need white beneficence in order to stay afloat. Moyo is arguing for racial equaltiy, where Africans are partners in a trade setup. Sachs & cohort believe Africans are not a vibrant and creative people capable of thought and responding to market incentives, when government is not holding them back at every turn from creating jobs and wealth that will enable the continent to advance.

Sachs never considers how aid HAS ALREADY aided and abetted the killing of millions of Africans, as corrupt leaders fill their Swiss-bank accounts at Western taxpayers' expense while not being accountable to African peoples.

Sachs, didn't you advocate "shock therapy" for Europe last decade? Community health workers are certainly needed, but so are entrepreneurs!

What's wrong with Moyo arguing that African nations should wean off foreign aid, and focus more on trade? You can help the continent more by arguing for the overturning of Western subsidies which promote unfair trade and undercut developing countries. But I guess we blacks are just supposed to remain tethered to white beneficence forever, huh? Because we're inferior to you and can't survive with you, right? SMH
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 04:23 PM on 5/30/2009
- +arvay I'm a Fan of arvay I'm a fan of this user 140 fans permalink

Eventually, Chinese investment and African initiative will outweigh aid as way to reverse Africa's problems. The west has been monumentally hypocritical, closing its markets to African producers and keeping Africans strung along on debilitating "assistance."

During the Cold War, both the west and Russia freely intervened and made the effects of colonialism even worse. So sorry, here are some welfare checks. Washington and other western nations, including former colonial and current neo-colonial powers, are already screeching about the "Chinese threat."

The US is trying to plant a military force in Africa, and the French intervene at will in places like the Ivory Coast, while issuing meaningless statements about Darfur. I'm sure Africans are seeing through all this. China is not a "benefactor" -- it's an investor, and the Chinese don't come loaded with the western baggage or noblesse oblige.
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 09:27 AM on 5/28/2009
- +EgyptianMysterySchool I'm a Fan of EgyptianMysterySchool I'm a fan of this user 50 fans permalink

Excellent points.
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 03:19 PM on 5/28/2009
- +WilliePilgrim I'm a Fan of WilliePilgrim I'm a fan of this user 29 fans permalink
You have misrepresented Ms Moyo's statement in your first paragraph. I don't think she said that Africa was prosperous, she simply said it was better off. She has quite clearly said that Africa was still suffering from colonialism 40 years ago and it seems that now it's both post-colonialism and neo-colonialism as exemplified by the system of corruption that has been created as greed and poverty combine in a mess of almost unfathomable dimension.

She also has said that humanitarian aide need not be the problem but the system of tying into corrupt trading and resource exploitation, which it has, has not helped and has retarded the formation of responsible governement.

You seem to ignore the fact that there are powerfull interests who are controlling the aide that we naively think is going to help people, and instead it lining the pockets of corrupt and compliant powerbrokers on all sides of the trading tables, and they have no interest in seeing things become better when they are already fantastic for them.
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 08:39 AM on 5/28/2009
- +arvay I'm a Fan of arvay I'm a fan of this user 140 fans permalink

Eventually, Chinese investment and African initiative will outweigh aid as way to reverse Africa's problems.

The west has been monumentally hypocritical, closing its markets to African producers and keeping Africans strung along on debilitating "assistance." During the Cold War, both the west and Russia freely intervened and made the effects of colonialism even worse.

So sorry, here are some welfare checks.

Washington and other western nations, including former colonial and current neo-colonial powers, are already screeching about the "Chinese threat." The US is trying to plant a military force in Africa, and the French intervene at will in places like the Ivory Coast, while issuing meaningless statements about Darfur.

I'm sure Africans are seeing through all this.

China is not a "benefactor" -- it's an investor, and the Chinese don't come loaded with the western baggage or noblesse oblige.
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 07:24 AM on 5/28/2009
- +Klimb I'm a Fan of Klimb I'm a fan of this user 25 fans permalink
China has started causing a stir in Africa...more elephants being killed for their tasks and eventually ivory. What Africa needs is trade: China invests in an African country and takes profits of 40% while host 60% not china 90% and host 10% (the latter is what has cost Africa).
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 12:17 PM on 6/21/2009
- +avam2009 I'm a Fan of avam2009 I'm a fan of this user 4 fans permalink
"African leaders - like President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Dr. Awa Coll-Seck of Roll Back Malaria, and Ministers Charity Ngilu and Beth Mugo of Kenya - have fought for Africa's poor and have used aid to save lives and help economies to prosper. These leaders disagree fundamentally and urgently with Moyo's attacks. They recommend more aid, fully accountable and properly targeted, to meet urgent needs." - Let them speak for themselves Mr. Sachs.
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:46 AM on 5/28/2009
- +ironicalocho I'm a Fan of ironicalocho I'm a fan of this user permalink
oops they have. read oped in washington post by president sirleaf:

"The citizens and leaders of donor nations should recognize how important their assistance has been to the new leadership in Africa and how appreciative most Africans are for this partnership. Critics say that African economies are shrinking, that poverty is rising and that failing aid is the culprit. But this argument is at least a decade out of date. Africa's turnaround is real, the evidence indisputable. Africans themselves have been the key to this reversal, but more effective aid has played an important role. Reducing aid would slow private-sector growth, stall poverty reduction, and undermine peace and stability in countries that are struggling to become part of the global economy."
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 11:19 AM on 5/28/2009
- +Klimb I'm a Fan of Klimb I'm a fan of this user 25 fans permalink
Africa needs trade not aid! A country like Uganda was never so dependent on aid until 1986 when a dictator took over and has since completely destroyed the private/ public sectors such as education, financial institutions, agriculture, economic, etc making the countries economy 60% foreign aid. The dictators have managed to stay in power by pocketing foreign aid. During Idi Amin's and other leaders' days Ugandans (indigenous) were not as poor as they are today, the disparity between rich and poor is getting wider!

Problem is when NGOs get into these regions they only take everything at face value (listening to the corrupt govt officials- a govt that probably came through a guerilla movt or rigged elections) without considering the indegenous people...and that is how FOREIGN AID HAS CONTINUED TO FAIL!
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 12:09 PM on 6/21/2009
- +avam2009 I'm a Fan of avam2009 I'm a fan of this user 4 fans permalink
Also - Issues of governance are utterly key to Africa's growth as are education, disease control and prevention - but no where do I see (hear or read) Ms. Moyo, or, for that matter, Mr. Easterly debating this fact - on the contrary - they are looking for real ways to illustrate where actual substantive growth can happen. It seems to me Mr. Sachs that you worry that your crown (as self-appointed African saviour - along with Bono, Geldof, Jolie and now Madonna.......all captured handily on MTV) - is in danger of being passed on, and will put you out of a job? As someone who also works in development (governance, vulnerability, capabilities), it angers me that you constantly speak down to people and assume, that if people are not following your views and Your 'party line' then they do not care about the lives and well-beings of others in less fortunate circumstances.
Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:44 AM on 5/28/2009
- +EgyptianMysterySchool I'm a Fan of EgyptianMysterySchool I'm a fan of this user 50 fans permalink

I think this says it all...

"According to their figures, headcount poverty under $2 a day was 74 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa in 1981 and 73 percent in 2005. Other prominent estimates that go back to 1950 or 1970 also contradict Moyo's statement, by showing high and persistent poverty"

...so by your own admission foreign aid is useless when it comes to economic growth. Ms. Moyo has repeatedly stated that humanitarian aid and aid from NGO's is not her concern. If you did any due diligence at all you would know this from a ten minute search of her youtube channel ( http://www.youtube.com/user/dambisamoyo ) - which leads me to believe that you are being disingenuous.

Economic aid from sources like the IMF, World Bank, USAID, etc. are nothing but a form of loan sharking for the lenders and welfare for the receiving country. And welfare means fare well to all of you natural resource/ mineral rights, fare well to public utilities, fare well to public health care, fare well to small local farms and non-chemicalized food and fare well to all self-reliance and autonomy.

Africa is richer below ground than any where else on the planet and needs to learn to do for themselves. The leaders of the countries need to be beholden to its citizens and not to international banking cartels and the ties of colonialism need to be broken for once and for all.