Dambisa Moyo reacts to Bill Gates’ attacks against her book “Dead Aid”

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Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian-born economist and author has described as “shocking and inappropriate” attacks against her by Bill Gates, co-Founder of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

On 28th May 2013 during a Q&A session at the University of New South Wales, Mr. Gates strongly criticised Dr. Moyo’s famous book “Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There is A Better Way for Africa”, saying it promotes evil.

Asked whether aid in Africa has negative consequences, Mr. Gates said: “It depends on your value system, over the last 20 years the number of children who die in Africa has been cut in half, and you know if that’s good or not good.”

He claimed that vaccine and aid programmes had contributed to the reduction in child mortality in Africa.

Mr. Gates attacked Dr. Moyo’s book, saying it damaged the generosity of some rich countries.

He confirmed that he had read the book but when asked if he found anything in it of use, Mr. Gates said: “I found that she (Dr. Moyo) didn’t know much about aid and what aid was doing.”

He then went on to say: “If you look objectively at what aid has been able to do, you would never accuse it of creating dependency. Having children not die is not creating a dependency, having children not be so sick they can’t go to school, not having enough nutrition so that brains don’t develop, that is not a dependency.”

Without mincing words, Mr. Gates said books like Dr. Moyo’s “are promoting evil.”

Reacting to Mr. Gates’ attacks, Dr. Moyo said: “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.”

Dr. Moyo said she wrote “Dead Aid” as a contribution to “a useful debate on why, over many decades, multi billions of dollars of aid has consistently failed to deliver sustainable economic growth and meaningfully reduce poverty. I also sought to explicitly explain how decades of government to government aid actually undermined economic growth and contributed to worsening living conditions across Africa.”

She added that in the book, she “clearly detailed better ways for African leaders, and governments across the world, to finance economic development.”

Dr. Moyo said it was “both inappropriate and disrespectful” for Mr. Gates to say that her book “promotes evil” or to allude to her corrupt value system.

She also said it was unfortunate for Mr. Gates to claim that she “didn’t know much about aid and what it was doing”.

“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,” Dr. Moyo said. “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.”

Dr. Moyo added that she was disappointed that Mr. Gates chose “the route of personal attacks rather than a logical counter argument about the role of aid in modern Africa.”

“Such attacks,” she said, “add no value in the important discussions on the challenges the world faces to deliver economic growth, eradicate poverty, combat disease, and reduce income inequality, to name a few.”

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  • austinvital

    Even if you agree with Moyo that AID (Whatever she means), has not worked for Africa, you cannot but be shocked by her panacea for the problem. Among others, she recommended the rise of benevolent African dictators and Africa sourcing money from the international BOND Market, the same market that crippled Greece, Italy, UK, USA, Portugal etc. If you compare AID with her panacea, you find that Bill Gates is correct- Africa and Africans are in no position to swim with the Sharks. Gates is correct.