Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Debate about Dambisa Moyo's book continues!

Dear Thomas and others reading.
Well, this is a cluster of views on Dambisa that are fairly common among most Africans I hear view themselves on Dambisa Moyos message.
I see that you Thomas is a strong supporter of Moyos views and approach to development.
I am an equally strong critic of the lady and her views. I do not dare think what Norway would have looked like if we some 100 to 150 years ago had applied the Dambisa recipe for development. In fact, I hardly know any country that did, even though USA and UK and in Africa Gabon are fairly close to.
I wrote some 15 months ago in Norwegian a very critical review of her book and so called analyses of development. I attach it for those of you who read Norwegian.

Halle Jørn Hanssen, former correspondent for the Norwegian Broadcasting Company to Africa and CEO of Norwegian Peoples Aid.

DEATH OF AID (enhanced version after Moyos visit to Oslo on 16 and 17 April with limited debate today on April 17, 2009)
(Google translated, so please be tolerant and careful in the reading)

Well, that and nothing less is the book's title, in English Dead Aid, a young Zambian woman economist dambis Moyo. The book, currently only the English edition, has been in the market for a couple of months, and its many harsh message has attracted attention and generated debate.

Today Moyo attended at the invitation of the development minister in a meeting within a time frame of 90 minutes where 15 minutes were allocated for questions and answers, etc.

In this meeting, Moyo insisted their fundamental criticism of the aid and its harmful effects in African society and African political and economic development. Her attempts shades projections were very small.

What are so many messages in a small book of 154 pages plus 8 pages with footnotes and a bibliography of 16 pages of a very complex issue, namely how to prevent and creates development, and Moyo now amplifier through a velregissert international PR campaign for the book of meetings that the House of Literature Today?

Jo contribution is the root of all evil in African countries. Moyo argues that the West through more than 50 years has spent 2000 billion U.S. dollars in aid, most of it in African countries, and that everything when it comes to Africa, is wasted money. Moyo discusses in the book seem all that critical matter of aid and development in African countries in the last 50 years, and the verdict was merciless.

Aid creates intellectual and political laziness and become a barrier for independent political initiative. It weakens the political responsibility and the willingness of independent political action at state and government and other levels of society.

Aid has become a crucial contribution to the extensive corruption in every country on the continent.
Because it creates political laziness, it also prevents the will and thus the ability of administrative reforms in society who do business establishment, and other economic and productive activities easier. Similarly, it prevents the government will and ability of national, regional and international context to implement reforms that facilitate trade at different levels.

Aid is often the cause of war, both civil war in African societies and between states in Africa. The point was further underlined today with a language that I thought was sensational.

Aid prevents the willingness and ability of both public and private savings, promote a culture of waste of resources and unnecessary consumption and is inflationary.

Misery list is even longer, but the conclusion is quite clear, even after today's meeting. The aid is a crucial obstacle for economic growth and development. Therefore it away.

What is so analytical methods Moyo uses that lead to these firm conclusions?

She blends the first all forms of assistance together. Thus, the figures she operates for Africa apparently very large, but hardly the reason right. Most countries in Africa comes in category of the least developed countries, and what is the story about them is that they have received comparatively much less aid than developing countries with better conditions.

Moyo includes in his list completely uncritical completely different forms of assistance. This applies to U.S. or other countries' bilateral bistandslån and sometimes military aid, loans from the World Bank and IMF, gift aid through the UN or bilaterally from what she calls the socialist Scandinavian countries. (She has a reference to the Nordic countries in the book, where we discussed the socialist Scandinavian countries. She told me today that she had never been in Norway, so it might be interesting to see if she stay in Oslo provided a more nuanced impression of our Socialism than what it hinted at in the book),. Moyo throwing all this as most are completely different forms of assistance in the same pot, and it all becomes a common and destructive ingredient for humans, society and politics in African countries.

Moyo accentuates both the book and elsewhere that she writes as an economist. But while she was traveling in his book also very quickly through the story of growth and development in the world outside Africa over the last few hundred years, and the young economist foregir an understanding of history that most historians repeatedly will have to tear his hair off.

She is, for example, visit the Marshall Plan, and here she finds a number of positive aspects, because the U.S. did aid through the construction of Western Europe, bounded in time while it was set political conditions. The European countries had also both institution-related conditions for and the political will to use the aid in a sensible way. Marshall Aid was Moyos policy understanding exception that confirms the general rule.

Thereafter, she repeatedly visited the development in Asian countries. Here trample she securely into it by claiming that aid to Asian countries have been without significance for the growth and development. This is from any analysis angle completely wrong. All Asian countries, whether we talk about India, South Korea, China or Bangladesh, from 1950's obtained from major to major transfers both assistance and technical expertise while they have received private investment.

Development history of the so-called Asian tigers, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, for example, the story of how powerful national leaders (but in a long period, they were not Democratic leaders) with a political vision of growth and development of their countries, using national resources, international aid and private investment to realize their visions.

India has from 1950 and until recently been the recipient of much assistance and are still somewhat assistance. India, along with a targeted national policy developed the world's most populous democracy, building strong national institutions and policies for growth and development that has lifted India to this day to be a major player politically and economically in the world community. Moyo is visiting India in both look and dense, but seems ignorant of the Indian society and history of development in India.

Bangladesh which is still a country with a majority of very poor people, has throughout his time as an independent state has been the recipient of much assistance and have an interaction with other factors in politics and the economy gradually achieved significant growth, and development. Vietnam is one of the last countries on the list of significant aid recipients in Asia, is that we all should know, a great success when it comes to growth, development and extent distribution.

All of these undeniable historical facts from the development experience in Asia, lost in Moyos simple and superficial observations and assertions. Thus we get not from this African author no answer as to why Asian countries succeeded in aid for development, while many African struggle or fail immediately. It should be a central task for African political writers like Moyo to question why Asian countries with access to a lot of aid has succeeded in its development efforts, while many African countries have been suspended at times very by.

Moyo danger over much of the African context, and sometimes rabbit paw painfully visible.
She argues that Botswana is an African example of countries that have succeeded without assistance. It is simply not true. Botswana as the 1960's was one of the world's poorest countries, has succeeded beyond all expectations, thanks to long periods and the population taken into account, a lot of assistance after each significant private investment and a government and a government that was getting better. Botswana had the 1970 and 1980, Africa's record in terms of aid per capita.

Ghana is almost absent as a reference country in Moyos production, but Ghana is after several setbacks in the process of becoming a stable democracy with growth and development. The same applies to Tanzania. The country has a philosophy of development with social democratic values as an important part of it all. It has received much assistance, particularly from the Nordic countries. There has been peace and political stability in all the years since independence. Tanzania abolished 15 years ago, one-party system and got more partistyre while it gave up statsdirigeringen of the economy and introduced a system of mixed economy. Tanzania has over the past 12-15 years have had an economic growth between 5 and 7 per cent .. Tanzania will not get any credit for this, but the extent Moyo visiting Tanzania, presented it almost as an example of an African failure. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the case of African countries that have failed, Zaire's dictator Mobutu, and an example to be taken to the trivial, and we can all give our support to. But Gabon at the extremely exploitative dictator Bongo over 40 years and Equatorial Guinea with a couple of dictators seem to pass.

Moyo has a discussion of African countries' debt problems that must be fundamentally wrong. She argues that Africa's debt problem in the first series of debt due to private commercial banks and credit institutions. But most African countries' problem was that they were too poor to be creditworthy in international private money market. Thus developed the African debt burden primarily as a result of credits and loans from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and loans from bilateral donors such as Japan, Germany and the United States.

What is so dambis Moyos recipe for economic development in African countries?

She will first over a period of 5 years discontinue aid. But she has three exceptions. She will allow the relief which she believes may be necessary and helpful when natural disasters and war frames. But she added today to the considerations that such relief may also be harmful. She wants assistance support to microcredit (which she and her friends are doing), and she wants the project assistance through NGOs. But today she was more qualified in terms of civil society and voluntary role in social development. She was clear that she was opposed to a civil society that was "rebel Rouses" that is calling for resistance and rebellion. She trained not this remarkable statement in more detail. But in retrospect it must be allowed to ask. Did she civil society in South Africa during the struggle against Apartheid, or she thought the popular forces in southern Sudan in the mid-1950s, rebelled against a centuries-old oppression and discrimination and who then have fought for human dignity and freedom. Or did she organized workers in all countries through the trade union movement in more than 100 years many times have had to strike and fight hard to get their rights especially when they have had to fight in society with a market without the management and the liberal forces game? In short, what she meant by the term "rebel Rouses'?

Moyo will have added political and economic systems based on capitalism and free market forces. She wants that private banks and other financial institutions to take over when it comes to access to loans and credits to African countries. She is an enthusiastic and at times uncritical supporter of China and the Chinese way of working in Africa. I share the view that China is doing a good deal that is good for development in African countries, but equally clear is that it is liable critical aspects of China's business that are lost in Moyos understanding of what development is all about.

Ideological stands Moyo as a few other African neoliberal market fundamentalists who have joined the debate about development in recent years.

Moyos social and experience-related background is relevant to an assessment of her political message.

She comes from the little we could call Zambia's upper class. Her mother is senior bank executive and her father a professor. Both parents allegedly giving her full support to her daughter understand what is Africa's fundamental development issue, namely that aid is available.

Moyo is obviously very well equipped and has a solid education with a PhD in economics from Oxford. She has two working experiences as she own home and elsewhere highlight the first few years of the World Bank and eight years in the world's largest private financial institution Goldman Sachs. She makes a number that she has spent most of his adult life in the West's great cities, and that she has lectured at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In short, she belongs in the international jet set. She obviously thrives in this company with the political and other cultures that characterize this environment.

She has never been a participant or speaker at the World Social Forum and similar civil society meetings. She has no work experience in working with poor people either in African countries or elsewhere. But she told me today that she is visiting the African country 3 to 4 times a year.

From Zambia, Moyos homeland and other African countries are now more and more worrying messages from Africans engaged in development work in the African life. These messages are from other blogs on the newspaper the Independent in London and several media institutions. The aid workers such as in the slums of Zambia's capital Lusaka, fears that international aid to African countries as a result of Moyos deadly slaughter will be seriously harmed.

Moyo obviously put a dot in his manuscript in the early fall of 2008. That was before the world learned that her own employer, Goldman Sachs and other like-minded private financial institutions had driven the world economy towards the precipice. Today it seemed as if she had not received this reality with them. During the panel discussion invited development minister who most were very critical of Moyos analysis and policy proposals, a comment also on this point, but Moyo failed to respond.

Moyos recipe for private capitalist growth without development in African countries was perhaps interesting six months ago, and had the book come when it would for a brief while, been a political gift to the FRP and the leader Siv Jensen. But they have so far not used the book's message in any appreciable degree. The Progress Party, however, foreign aid and political phantom Asle Toje. He is, according to sources in the FRP put on that party's State Secretary for Foreign Affairs with assistance in two main tasks, one is to abolish the NORAD, the other is to cut Norwegian development assistance by at least 50 percent during the next parliamentary term. Toje now use several times per week Moyos message to promote FRP political views on development assistance and international cooperation.

The Minister Moyo invited to Oslo to hear her message, and he even participated in the panel discussion afterwards. It was an interesting experience, for it was largely a polite confrontation between the red-green understanding of what aid and development concerns and what Moyos understanding is. About Jensen or her Asle Toje was present observing in the background during the well-visited the meeting, I do not know. But I'm sure we FRP by going to hear much more about Moyos message in the coming months.

I hope that the development minister this spring will be able to invite at least one African writer to Norway for now that he has invited dambis Moyo.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai from Kenya. Unlike Moyo who has most of his life and work experience in Western cities and financial institutions the World Bank and Goldman Sachs, has Maathai spent most of his life among poor women and men in Kenya and other African countries in the fight for the environment, human dignity and human rights . She has been humiliated, mistreated and tortured during the dictatorship of Daniel arap Moi's regime, and she is now a fearless critic of mismanagement and corruption in Kenya and other African countries. Wangari Maathai received a few days ago with another Peace Prize winner who contribute, namely, Al Gore, his latest book published in the U.S. and Kenya. It is titled in English for Africa The Challenge, Africa's challenge. The volume is Maathai's book twice as long as Moyos. With regard to the author's life experience, political experience and insight is much, much more.

Maathai is also some very critical that African countries have not come anymore with regard to development, respect for human rights and democracy. But she has completely different analysis and explanation than Moyo. The basic difference between the message of the two books is that Maathai said the problem mainly lies in the African political context, while Moyo largely absolve African leaders and their extremely simple social understanding blame for aid.

Updated 17 April 2009

Halle Jørn Hanssen

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