Uploaded by Gift Chanda

Why 'Dead Aid' is Right but Watkins Wrong

Mr. President Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Symposium, good
morning. It is a great privilege to stand here this morning to not only clarify the myths in
Kevin Watkins’ article but also to run counter to his theory that Africa needs aid from the
West. He vehemently repudiates “Dead Aid’’ by Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian born
international economist who rightly argues that aid undermines the social and economic
fabrics of the developing world, especially Africa.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Watkins’ shocking remarks highlighting why foreign aid should
not cease is more than just a mixture of cherry picked quotes, facts and figures that are
filled with farragoes of misunderstandings, misquotations and representations. His
verdict, which wholly supports his so called “Academic work”, is rather unconvincing
and irrelevant to his argument .Claiming that reports have pointed out the ‘’positive”
statistics that show that Africa has benefited from international aid is undoubtedly
unrealistic. However, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is evident to acknowledge that there has
been some minimal economic growth in Africa and Moyo strongly propose this fact and
therefore vividly recognizes and illustrates this in her book. Perhaps what Watkins should
have explained is why Singapore ,a country which was at the same economic level with
most African states, is now developing exponentially while African countries slothfully
waits for more foreign aid from the international community. Ladies and Gentlemen, how
‘’positive’’ are these figures?
Moreover, I firmly believe that three decades of foreign aid have served to not only
increase corruption but also increase humanitarian disasters in Africa .Affiliated
members, I know what Moyo suggests, which I agree with, sounds fairly outlandish and
not everyone will understand this except for those Africans who have been victims of
wars, corruption and other atrocities that aid has bestowed upon them. Appallingly, Mr.
Watkins accuses Moyo of “Tilting at windmills’’ while obliviously claiming aid has
brought some sort of “Development assistance.” Bill Gates has tremendously contributed
to the eradication of polio and minimized the number of children who die of malaria and
no one will object to that fact. But, Ladies and Gentlemen, take a moment and think of
where all that remaining huge sums of money end up. Yes! You are right to think that all
that cash meant to improve people’s living standards ends up in hands of incompetent
leaders who continue to embezzle aid money. Mr. Watkins, clearly, Moyo does not seem
to be attacking imaginary enemies whatsoever, but rather serves to indicate that aid just
increased corruption.
Likewise Ladies and Gentlemen, aid to Africa does not alleviate poverty. Instead, it just
makes African economies crippled with governments begging for more aid .Despite
being a war death zone for all kinds of gruesome cold wars that have all been indirectly
funded by aid, Africa still continues to ask for more aid. Somalia ,one of the most corrupt
and certainly a war torn region is now becoming wholly dependent on aid despite the
deadly wars that still transpires even up to now. Ethiopia is another example. Shocking
figures show that a whopping 97 percent of the government’s budget comes from foreign
aid in countries like Ethiopia and the Gambia. How did Ethiopia, a country which was
never colonized, be so dependent on the West? How is this even possible? Where do all
the heavy taxes on the citizens go?
Nevertheless, not all that Watkins highlights is unjustified .He makes signicant statistical
claims that supports his verdict. Ladies and Gentlemen, you might agree that countries
like Burkina Faso, Mali, Tanzania and Mozambique are growing at an impressive rate of
more than five percent a year and all this growth is credited to the international aid these
countries have been receiving. However, my only concern is why aid has not benefited
the majority of African states but rather just these four countries. Besides, by now, every
African country should be growing at not less than 6 percent per annum on its own in
order to catch up with demands of the 21st century. What is up for the other African
In addition, Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Watkins rightly states that these international
initiatives have “saved lives.” Quite alright, people like Bob Geldof, Bill Gates and other
philanthropists have saved a lot of lives like I earlier highlighted. Like Moyo, my
argument still stand, “Whose responsibility is it to solve African problems?” Certainly
not aid donor organizations as most people would put it. Don’t you think Africa’s
problems should be solved by Africans? This, I believe, is what is giving rise to neocolonialism, a situation that makes Africa think it is independent yet it is dependent on its
long gone colonial masters. How outlandish!
In a nutshell, Dambisa Moyo’s ‘Dead Aid’ end with a question, “What if,” she asks, “one
by one, African countries each received a phone call … telling them that in exactly five
years the aid taps would be shut off— permanently?”
Ladies and Gentlemen, that
phone call is what Africans need in order to work hard to solve their numerous problems.
Thank you for listening.