Book review: MOYO, D. (2009). Dead aid: why aid is not working and how there is a better way for Africa. New York, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Over the past 50 years, rich countries have provided more than one trillion dollars for Africa in order to promote the development of this continent. Does such a large amount of aid help to improve the lives of African people? Unfortunately, the answer is NO. Paradoxically, the lives of people who received aid are even worse.

In the book “Dead aid – why aid is not working and how there is a better way for Africa”, not only does the Economist – Dambisa Moyo reveal the current status of development policies in Africa but he also does not hesitate to condemn one of the grandiose “achievements” that rich countries often take pride in providing billions of dollars of foreign aid that is believed to reduce poverty and promote the growth of African countries.

However, Moyo indicates that in fact, poverty in Africa keeps increasing while the growth rate is continuously decreasing. Millions of people still live in poverty and backwardness.

By comparing African countries that refused aid and other countries that depended on aid, Moyo also clarifies the fact that pouring billions of dollars into Africa has left many African nations in a terrifying trap: over-reliance on foreign aid, rampant corruption, market distortions, and aggravation of poverty situation.

Not only pointing out the limitations of foreign aid, Moyo also proposes a new roadmap for development assistance programs for the poorest countries in the world – a roadmap that ensures significant economic growth and poverty reduction without making these countries dependent on foreign aid.


-Ngoc Thao-

Translator: Nhu Duong

Editor: Gia Linh & Bao Nguyen