In This Review

Give and Take: Developmental Foreign Aid and the Pharmaceutical Industry in East Africa
Give and Take: Developmental Foreign Aid and the Pharmaceutical Industry in East Africa
By Nitsan Chorev
Princeton University Press, 2019, 320 pp.

Chorev examines the role that foreign aid played in helping build the pharmaceutical industry in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda over the course of the last three decades. She argues convincingly that aid helped generate a market for local companies, mostly thanks to the demand for HIV drugs. Foreign donors then offered technical assistance and suggested quality-control measures. Chorev conducted thorough research on the ground in East Africa and in the headquarters of international agencies such as the World Health Organization and presents a perceptive analysis of what it takes to devise a productive industrial policy in the region. Less successful is the author’s claim that these case studies can provide a general template for the overall reform of foreign aid. Chorev is a fan of state-led industrial policy and argues that aid would be more effective if it directly promoted local production efforts. Unfortunately, the record of donors attempting this approach is extremely uneven. Many areas of economic development and poverty alleviation, including the provision of public goods, rarely lend themselves to the sort of public-private partnerships she encourages.