Friday, May 1, 2009

Casting Blame

"Ms Moyo includes the legions of people who work for nonprofit aid gorups in her indictment."

Leslie Lenkowsky,"Why Is Global Poverty Still So Widespread," Chronicle of Philanthropy, April 23, 2009.

In an otherwise insightful review of Dambisa Moyo's Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is A Better Way for Africa, Lenkowsky can't help but take a few shots at nonprofit aid groups, especially anybody associated with celebrities like Bono of Bob Geldof. Conservative reviewers of the book, even in the book's foreward, take similar shots.

Yet Dambisa Moyo spends no time going after nonprofits in her book, and thumbs her nose at the celebrities only for their work on debt relief and advocating for aid expansion. Her book focuses on the debilitating effects of government aid to Africa for the stated purposes of improving economic development. Her basic argument is that this aid is a failure, corrupts governments, and creates dependency, and that it should be replaced with market-based approaches to development finance and economic growth.

Neither Moyo or Lenkowsky suggest that philanthropy and nonprofit groups could help build the knowledge base and public will for liberating Africa from government aid. In fact, there is little discussion of "how" except for making a powerful argument.

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