Against the Grain

Is Aid Killing Africa?

Here’s your daily dose of counterintuition: “[Humanitarian] Aid is an unmitigated political, economic and humanitarian disaster.” Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Dambisa Moyo writes “Giving alms to Africa remains one of the biggest ideas of our time …Yet evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that aid to Africa has made the poor poorer, and the growth slower. The insidious aid culture has left African countries more debt-laden, more inflation-prone, more vulnerable to the vagaries of the currency markets and more unattractive to higher-quality investment. It's increased the risk of civil conflict and unrest (the fact that over 60% of sub-Saharan Africa's population is under the age of 24 with few economic prospects is a cause for worry).” Per-capita income is lower in Africa today than it was in the 1970s and the number of Afircans living on less than a dollar a day—more than half the continent—has almost doubled in the past two decades.