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Aid to Africa: Does It Work? March 17, 2009

Posted by dglaudemans in Uncategorized.

This morning NPR’s Steve Inskeep spoke with Dambisa Moyodeadaid – a Zambian-born economist about her book Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa. Moyo argues that U.S. assistance to Africa has in fact stunted Africa’s development by relying on an assistance model predicated on pity.  Instead, Moyo believes that a business approach, similar to the one used by China, is the only way to develop the private sector in Africa.   Dambisa Moyo, an economists formerly with the World Bank and now working for Goldman Sachs, raises a fundamental question regarding U.S. foreign assistance: does it work? Historically, the metrics that accompany foreign assistance budgets and determine levels of funding are largely geared toward inputs as opposed to outputs.  That is, how many wells are we digging as opposed to how many people have access to clean drinking water.  Recently, the F bureau at State has led the effort to reverse the quantifiable metrics of aid performance to focus on outputs rather than inputs, but there are still many instances of input-oriented performance measurement.  For example, in the FY 2009 Foreign Ops Congressional Budget Justification the following metrics are used to evaluate the use of funds for HIV/AIDS: 1) Number of people receiving HIV/AIDS treatment in the 15 PEPFAR focus countries; 2) Estimated number of HIV infections prevented in the 15 PEPFAR focus countries; 3) Number of people receiving HIV/AIDS care and support services in the 15 PEPFAR focus countries.

How does the input/output argument relate to the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance to Africa?  From an institutional, process, and budget perspective – which is the focus of this blog – the U.S. cannot evaluate the effectiveness of its assistance and tailor its funding and programmatic operations without an output based performance measurement.  Dambisa Moyo, argues that a business approach to Africa is a preferred model may or may not be correct – feel free to debate below – but what is clear, is that U.S. foreign assistance does not fully link its desired outcomes, with the funds it allocates.



1. Paul Mwai - March 18, 2009

Yes Dambisa’s model for economic growth in Africa is the most efficient because it replaces Dependency with Entreprenuership see

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