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Africa Rising?

May 19, 2009

Dambisa Moyo, a former economist at Goldman Sachs, is author of Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa. She has an opinion piece in Foreign Policy outlining the improvements taking place in Africa, including a reduction in corruption, an increase in access to technology and the maturation of the continent’s financial system. Moyo argues that these advances, conventionally important in the development of world economies but historically rare in Africa, augur well for the continent’s future role in the world economy. But she also sees a more controversial silver lining for Africa, in the consequences of the world economic crisis:

[f]or the past 50 years, African countries have relied heavily on foreign aid—arguably the single most important contributor to the continent’s inability to realize its potential. Meanwhile, many African rulers have skirted accountability.

With the West shaken by its own economic problems, foreign aid’s destructive impact is likely to diminish. Italy has already slashed its aid budget by 50 percent. This is a good thing. More African leaders will have to figure out how to govern without the inflow of easy money to backstop them. Necessity will force them to innovate.

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