From Forbes Magazine – Feisty Zambian Dambisa Moyo defends herself against Bill Gates’ attack!
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently attended a Q&A session at the University of New South Wales. During the session a member of the audience asked the billionaire philanthropist a question on whether aid in Africa has had far-reaching negative consequences, based on the central idea of Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo’s acclaimed book, Dead Aid, Why Aid Is Not Working and How There is Another Way for Africa.
The lady asked: “Mr. Gates, Dead Aid, a book by Dambisa Moyo, illustrates that giving more aid to Africa over the course of the years did not alleviate poverty, instead it kept the economy crippled with governments asking for more aid. This fluke made a cycle of aid giving which resulted in nothing productive and it has not been used to solve the immediate problems and the money is not being used to make businesses sustainable in Africa. What’s the foundation’s view in this regard?”
Gates, who claims to have read the book, said in response that the author “didn’t know much about aid and what it was doing in Africa,” adding that “Books like that are promoting evil.” Moyo’s book Dead Aid explains how aid continually hampers Africa’s development and the book provides alternative solutions to economic prosperity. It became a New York Times bestseller and went on to be translated into several languages.
Gates’ answer appears to have infuriated Moyo, who subsequently took to her blog and lashed at the billionaire for the ‘shocking’ and ‘inappropriate ad-hominem’ attacks her and her book. Moyo wrote on her blog: “I find it disappointing that Mr. Gates would not only conflate my arguments about structural aid with those about emergency or NGO aid, but also that he would then use this gross misrepresentation of my work to publicly attack my knowledge, background, and value system.”
The former Goldman Sachs consultant continued: “I have dedicated many years to economic study up to the PhD level, to analyze and understand the inherent weaknesses of aid, and why aid policies have consistently failed to deliver on economic growth and poverty alleviation. To this, I add my experience working as a consultant at the World Bank, and being born and raised in Zambia, one of the poorest aid-recipients in the world. This first-hand knowledge and experience has highlighted for me the legacy of failures of aid, and provided me with a unique understanding of not only the failures of the aid system but also of the tools for what could bring African economic success.”
So far, it looks like Dambisa is winning. Several commentators on the YouTube video have equally lashed out at Gates.
One said, “This man didn’t read the book, from his arguments that is very clear. This is a grave and insulting misrepresentation of a well written/structured book with criticisms of AID that have been made for decades. We must not give time to wealthy, arrogant, white men like Bill Gates.”
While another wrote, “Bill Gates you need to read the book again. Dambisa does not criticise emergency and humanitarian aid, she welcomes it. The problem is the government to government, IMF, WB and other non-binding economic growth support which has not worked in the last 50 years. It has successfully made African economies dependent on life support. Read it again and continue doing the great vaccination project in Africa.”
Moyo, 44, is a Zambian national and has a PhD in economics from the St. Anthony’s College, Oxford University. She previously worked as a consultant at Goldman Sachs and as an economist for the World Bank. She is the author of Dead Aid, Why Aid Is Not Working and How There is Another Way for Africa, How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly – And the Stark Choices that Lie Ahead and Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What It Means for the World.