“Dead Aid is a work of self-flagellating simplicity”

In Business Day, Adekeye Adebajo, the executive director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution, Cape Town, takes the gloves off in criticising Dambisa Moyo’s book, Dead Aid:

… This is a work of self-flagellating simplicity, totally devoid of any thinking by leading African research centres or scholars, making the book often read like a Harvard Masters syllabus or a World Bank report. Moyo reveals her ignorance by incredibly charging that “scarcely does one see Africa’s … officials … offer an opinion on what should be done”. …

Moyo employs crude stereotypes of “tribal conflict” to depict African wars, and recklessly suggests that aid is “an underlying cause of social unrest, and possibly civil war”. Such an absurd link would, of course, involve a huge leap of logic, and the author’s ignorant blaming of Somalia’s civil war on competition for food aid completely ignores the decade-long homicidal campaign of US-backed autocrat, Siad Barre, which eventually led to rebellion in 1991.

Read the rest here.

My own review is here (pdf) – also critical, but less vituperative.

More reviews (including some which are less negative) of Dead Aid here.

One comment on ““Dead Aid is a work of self-flagellating simplicity””

  1. I’m with you on this book. I’ve rarely read a book with so many factual errors, leaps of logic and which is so poorly referenced. I just lent my copy to a friend, who commented that he wasn’t sure who the author was, me or Moyo, so much had I written in the margins in my frustration.

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Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and