Ever wondered why after all these years of independence, Africa is still writ large, not as developed as other parts of the world? Where do all the billions of dollars in aid that are pumped into Africa go to? Ever wondered whether as a continent, we are insufferably irredeemable or whether we just haven’t found the key to the lock yet?
Are Africa’s woes exogenous to her? Why and how can a continent be so rich in natural and human resources but contemporaneously have some of the highest levels poverty and mortality rates? How and why is the cradle of mankind still by and large, a developing continent when most of her ‘children’ have grown by leaps and bounds?
How did Malawi, Burundi and Burkina Faso, who just thirty years ago were ahead of China on a per capita basis, now end up appearing before China with begging bowls? What can we learn from the meteoric rise of China from an afterthought to a global economic behemoth? What can we learn from India and Singapore on development? What can we learn from Germany and Japan who even after being ravaged by the malaise of war, somehow managed to recreate and reposition themselves as dominant economic actors?
Is aid really the answer to Africa’s problems? Is there something we are not seeing? Is there anything more to be done or do we yield to the fate of eternal damnation? Can democracy truly spur economic growth? Is that what we need at this moment in time?
Well, wonder no more. Dr. Dambisa Moyo, daughter of the soil, eruditely and systemically explores all these questions and offers solutions to them. She draws from the rich reservoirs of her Ivy-league (Harvard and Oxford) academic experience coupled with a stellar career record at the World Bank and Goldman Sachs.
Finding a sustainable solution to Africa’s woes is the fire that burns within this author. What she refers to herein as the four horsemen of Africa’s apocalypse; corruption, disease, poverty and war. It’s more than a job. For her, it’s a personal quest.She draws lessons from the Asian Tigers, and juxtaposes our situation with that of Europe after World War II. She dissects the Marshall Plan, and traces the history of aid.
She compares and contrasts countries which have rejected the aid route and prospered with those which have become dependent on aid and have been trapped in a vicious cycle of corruption, market distortion and further poverty.
Africa’s own daughter offers her dexterous and timely perspective of how we got here, and goes further to postulate tried and tested ways to the economic growth which has until now remained elusive to the motherland. She offers an African solution to Africa’s problems.
REVIEW BY AURA BILLY OSOGO