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Review Essay

Banned Aid

Why International Assistance Does Not Alleviate Poverty

In This Review

Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa
Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa
By Dambisa Moyo
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009, 208 pp. $24.00 Purchase

Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa. By Dambisa Moyo. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009, 208 pp. $24.00.

If you live in the affluent West, no public policy issue is more likely to produce conflicts in your conscience than foreign aid. The humane impulse, fueled by unceasing televised images of famine and pestilence in the developing world, is to favor giving more aid. But a contrasting narrative has the opposite effect: Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa of the Central African Republic used Western aid to buy a gold-plated bed, and Zaire's dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, spent it on personal jaunts on the Concorde. Such scandals inevitably lead many to conclude that most aid is wasted or, worse still, that it alone is responsible for corruption.

These debates have largely been the province of Western intellectuals and economists, with Africans in the developing world being passive objects

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