Another Call to End Aid to Africa

Dam­bisa Moyo, an Afri­can economist, has joined her voice to the other Afri­can economists [e.g. James Shik­wati] call­ing for a full halt to Western aid. Her book is called Dead Aid and it as­serts a di­rect cause-and-effect re­la­tion­ship be­tween $1 trillion of aid and the rise in Afri­can poverty rates from 11% to 66%.

Though it’s an easy enough sig­nal to fake, I find it note­wor­thy that Moyo—in this in­ter­view at least—re­peat­edly pleads for some at­ten­tion to “logic and ev­i­dence”:

“I think the whole aid model is couched in pity. I don’t want to cast as­per­sions as to where that pity comes from. But I do think it’s based on pity be­cause based on logic and ev­i­dence, it is very clear that aid does not work. And yet if you speak to some of the biggest sup­port­ers of aid, whether they are aca­demics or policy mak­ers or celebri­ties, their whole ra­tio­nale for giv­ing more aid to Africa is not couched in logic or ev­i­dence; it’s based largely on emo­tion and pity.”

I was just try­ing to think of when was the last time I heard a Western poli­ti­cian—or even a main­stream Western economist in any pub­lic venue—draw an out­right bat­tle line be­tween logic and pity. Oh, there are plenty of dem­a­gogues who claim the ev­i­dence is on their side, but they won’t be so out­right con­demn­ing of emo­tion—it’s not a win­ning tac­tic. Even I avoid draw­ing a bat­tle line so stark.

Moyo says she’s got­ten a bet­ter re­cep­tion in Africa than in the West. Maybe you need to see your whole con­ti­nent wrecked by emo­tion and pity be­fore “logic and ev­i­dence” start to sound ap­peal­ing.