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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

TweetThis! Things (quotes) I've learned from Dambisa Moyo

..."Africa has new trading partners. It doesn't have to grovel to the west".

..."There has been more private capital coming into Africa; more African countries have been issuing bonds.

... Africa has turned a corner. Now it's about closing the deal.

...aid not only doesn't work but is a large part of the problem: it crowds out private investment, fosters corruption, fuels conflict and undermines the rule of law. If that's where you begin, then the fact that some donor countries are already squeezing their aid budgets and shelving lofty commitments to poverty eradication should prove a healthy wake-up call for African policymakers.

...in fact, Moyo proposes far more radical treatment: a telephone call from every donor nation to every aid-dependent government in Africa, warning that in five years the taps will turn off. This, she believes, would trigger the search for alternative financing on a commercial basis, and force governments to create conditions in which business would thrive.

...by making life expensive for bad debtors, the bond markets compel governments to spend money more wisely. Aid, meanwhile, since it keeps on coming, has precisely the opposite effect. "In my world of no aid, it is easier for citizens to hold governments accountable," she insists. (She believes, that it will, ultimately, be in western countries, where governments are more sensitive to public opinion, that the battle will be won or lost).

...(her) book contains a damning assessment of the failures of 60 years of western development programmes, but also focuses on an alternative path. This blends micro-finance and changes to property laws with a grasp of the immense opportunity and freedom that shifting global trade patterns, Chinese investment in infrastructure and bond markets could represent for Africa.

...the failures associated with aid dependency in Africa are so acute that things could only get better if the whole system were dismantled. Thinking of Zimbabwe, Congo, Somalia and other failing states, I suggest there is tragic evidence that there is no such thing as a bottom to a crisis. Without external intervention to shift the dynamic, things often get worse.

...parts of Africa, have begun to turn the corner. It is not that poverty has been falling in any way fast enough to merit champagne, nor that its causes and symptoms have shown signs of going away. But as China and other emerging powers have competed for opportunities and resources overlooked by former colonial powers, the price for the commodities on which many African economies depend began to rise. In turn this revitalized the interest of European and American investors. Africa - or parts of it - was looking like the last great frontier market, and private capital from across the world started responding - albeit in amounts that only scratched the continent's needs.

And what of the World Bank, where Moyo once worked for two years, and the International Monetary Fund? Do they and other donors not deserve some credit for helping lay the foundations in some countries of recent growth?
Yes, they do, she says, in terms of the reforms they have promoted but they have not been aggressive enough about phasing out aid. This might sound high-handed from someone who lives comfortably in London. But Moyo is not arrogant. She counts herself exceptionally lucky. When she was growing up as a young girl in Zambia her aspiration was to become a flight attendant. She never dreamed she would win the scholarships that took her to Harvard and Oxford, and then to Goldman Sachs. She mostly thanks her parents, who were among the first graduates at university in the Zambian capital Lusaka. They left Africa in search of further education in the early 1970s, when communications were rudimentary and leaving was a journey into the unknown. But when they could they hurried back to help build a future for their country.

"They are the true African pioneers, the generation of [Barack] Obama's dad. That was the 'yes, we can' time of Africa. But", she continues, "then suddenly it became 'no, we can't,'" referring to the turmoil and decline from which parts of Africa are still struggling to emerge.

You probably needed to read it all, here: http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/200902040715.html

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