Week 14: Women’s Rights aren’t Quite What They Should Be

Part A


Women’s rights around the world are important indicators for understanding global well-being and equality. Despite many successes in empowering women in recent decades, numerous problems remain. This includes continuing gender discrimination and lower pay, even when laws dictate such practices are illegal (Africare). As education has improved the livelihoods of many African women, both socially and economically, they still lack access to many opportunities. By increasing wages for women and participation in local businesses, some policies address the gaps that still exist.

“Despite the crucial investments women make in their families and the contributions they make to their communities, Sub-Saharan women constitute only 15% of the region’s landholders, and they face disproportionate challenges ranging from sexual exploitation to illiteracy and disease” –Africare

That is not to say there hasn’t been progress:

  • Poor women are gaining greater access to savings and credit mechanisms worldwide, due to microcredit.
  • There is a dwindling number of countries that do not allow women to vote including Bhutan, Lebanon, Brunei, and Saudi Arabia
  • Women are gaining more positions in parliament throughout Africa. In many cases African countries have more women in parliament than some western ones.
  • An almost universal ratification of the women’s rights treaty, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

(source: Global Issues)

Unfortunately, innovative policies must be implemented to create a more sustainable gender equality, including leadership training and microfinancing opportunities as these women strive for personal development. Vocational training is only the beginning, for it takes more than basic literacy to transform a community (Global Issues). Women must have access to business management training and supervisory roles.

Africare logo

Africare logo

In 2008, Africare began the Initiative for the Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs Project (IEEWEP) with funding by ExxonMobil. By providing training for better agricultural practices and new agro-processing centers, the IEEWEP increased women’s income and participation in local businesses in Southern Chad.

IIn the past three years more than 1,000 women have worked through a graduated business development project, which has diversified their income sources and increased their annual income by approximately 70%. To support women’s empowerment projects, go to www.africare.org

 Continuing issues:

  • Women work more than men, but are paid less.
  • In many places women are still not allowed to own property or inherit land
  • Social exclusion, “honor” killings, female genital mutilation, trafficking, restricted mobility and early marriage among others, deny the right to health to women and girls and increase illness and death throughout the life-course.
  • In some patriarchal societies, religion or tradition can be used as a barrier for equal rights

(source: Global Issues)


Part B

Women, Work, and the Economy highlights the ways that women can affect the economy in a positive way:

  • There’s evidence that when women are able to develop their full labor market
    potential, there can be significant macroeconomic gains.
  • There are better opportunities for women to earn and control income could contribute to broader economic development in developing economies
  • Having equal access to inputs would raise the productivity of female-owned companies.
  • The employment of women on an equal basis would allow companies to make better use of the available talent pool, with potential growth implications


Empowering Young Women

In this passionate talk, Eve Ensler declares that there is a girl cell in us all — a cell that we have all been taught to suppress. She tells heartfelt stories of girls around the world who have overcome shocking adversity and violence to reveal the astonishing strength of being a girl.

Empowerment “amplifies their voices and broaden their hopes, turning small victories into large-scale changes” -Khadaroo

By empowering young women to become agents of change, we can break down historical and cultural barriers and invest in the untapped skills of those oppressed. As many would agree, education is key; the futures of many young African women are dependent on their access to primary and secondary education.

Such education gives them confidence to stand up and make a change, to start conversations with parents, teachers, and religious leaders about the need to invest in girls. In Malawi, women have taken a stand against child marriages. In Liberia, there is the Children’s Law, which guarantees the rights of health care and education. Girls and women bear the brunt of poverty, but we can transform their societies by providing social entrepreneurship.

Homepage of Let Girls Lead

Homepage of Let Girls Lead

Let Girls Lead offers training and support to foster a movement of global girl power. This includes campaigning to raise the national marriage age to twenty-one and promoting literacy in rural communities. Let Girls Leads’ support of over six hundred grass-roots organizations helps provide training and services to social entrepreneurs. In order to reform discriminatory policies and laws, we must examine the cultural and legal barriers to systematic change (Let Girls Lead). At the very least, we must begin to understand how to create change and implement new policies that provide women with the necessary means for success.

As education rates in Africa have increased, there has been a decrease in HIV infection among the educated, supporting that through training and services, improvements can be made. But, the rising cost of education has made it difficult to continue empowering young girls in Africa. Many suggest that African governments need to invest in more primary and secondary education, thereby laying a solid foundation for HIV prevention efforts.

Action Aid International states that formal education can influence vulnerability to HIV in five different ways:

  1. Expose girls to HIV and AIDS education, which helps prevent HIV.
  2. Provide psychosocial benefits for young women, helping them to build their self-esteem and capacity to act
    on HIV prevention messages.
  3. Lead to better economic prospects, which in turn lead to lifestyle changes that can influence HIV vulnerability.
  4. Influence the level of power within sexual relationships.
  5. Affect the social and sexual networks of girls.
Logo for FAWE

Logo for FAWE

Many programs for the empowerment of women are not-for-profit, such as the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE). A key concern of the African education sector today is ensuring that education programs equip young Africans with the ideal combination of knowledge and practical skills for the transition to productive adult life.

Empowering Kenyan Women

Throughout Kenya’s history, women have been subjected to rights abuses while bearing an overwhelming amount of responsibilities (FSD). Currently, women in Kenya do the vast majority of agricultural work and produce/market the majority of food. Yet they earn only a fraction of the income produced and own almost nothing (FSD). Conventional ideas about the roles of girls and women restrict their contributions to the Kenyan society. Women in Kenya are underrepresented in decision-making positions and therefore have less access to education, land, and employment. The country’s new Constitution, passed in 2010, provides a powerful framework for addressing gender equality. It marks a new beginning for women’s rights in Kenya; seeking to remedy the traditional exclusion of women and promote their full involvement in every aspect of growth and development (USAID).

USAID’s programs attempt to attain rights for all by:

  • Creating safe societies where women and girls can live free from violence;
  • Providing care and treatment services for victims of gender-based violence;
  • Strengthening women’s access to resources and opportunities that will allow them to share more broadly in the benefits of economic growth;
  • Increasing the participation of women in decision and policy-making at all levels;
  • Ensuring women a seat at the table in peace-building, conflict prevention and mitigation; and
  • Narrowing gender gaps in education and learning.

Action Aid has a similar program that aims to:

  • Secure basic rights for women and girls
  • Access and control of land and natural resources
  • Accountability at all levels
  • Disaster management and resilience building

We place women and girls at the center of our work with the knowledge that gender equality is not only key to poverty eradication but also women’s rights in and of themselves must be promoted and protected. –Action Aid

Fatima speaks from experience about the difference an education makes to girls, about the barriers she has overcome, and how, as a member of the pan-African CAMA alumnae network, she is multiplying the benefits of her education. Fatima provides health information to communities, and speaks on diverse platforms to encourage other young women from poor backgrounds to seek education and develop as leaders.

Week 12: Women in the Workforce

“There are customary and traditional laws which contradict new legislation, many of which cemented gender inequality.” (Vital Voices)

The empowerment of women remains a goal of both international and national entities and by providing opportunity to women entrepreneurs and combating marginalization in the workplace we can help women overcome limitations and achieve their goals. Sexism and marginalization in the workforce not only oppress women, but also hinder economic flow. Women who can’t get loans or start a business cannot add to the economic output of their society or provide for their family.

Reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon argues that women running all types of firms— from home businesses to major factories— are the overlooked key to economic development.

Marginalization, many times, stems from traditional cultural values and laws that are found patriarchal societies. Many rural and tribal socieites lack the necessary governance to protect women from discrimination in the workplace. Some cultures may propagate self-limiting views of young women, imposing social constraints that dictate their marginalized place in society (Opportunity International).

Vital Voices Global Partnership is the preeminent non-governmental organization (NGO) that identifies, trains and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the globe, enabling them to create a better world for us all.

Vital Voices Global Partnership is the preeminent non-governmental organization (NGO) that identifies, trains and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the globe, enabling them to create a better world for us all.

We could make the situation better by removing barriers to economics, correcting harmful social stratification, and improving access to property and the right to own such property. Reform in places that allow legal discrimination and where women lack a political voice is necessary to reverse centuries of inequality. Yet, education may be the best way to reach women, giving them self-efficacy and value in society. Empowerment includes the conciseness of marginalization and the decision to change one’s circumstances (ENotes).

Opportunity International unleashes the power of entrepreneurs in the developing world. Their  innovative approach and services allow more people to expand their businesses, create jobs and change the world.

Opportunity International unleashes the power of entrepreneurs in the developing world. Their innovative approach and services allow more people to expand their businesses, create jobs and change the world.

Microloans allow small business in rural areas to have access to traditional banking services. Recent trends have showed increasing numbers of women who own small businesses, especially in Asia and Africa. Microfinance organizations such as KIVA and Opportunity International allow men and women alike to build businesses, support their families, and transform their communities. Breaking free from the poverty trap is hard, but opportunities to support development and enable investment give hope to poor all over the world.

“The future of gender equality in Kenya now depends on the successful implementation of the new constitution.” (Opportunity International)

Kenya has been working towards gender equality and their new constitution provided a number of changes, especially in the economic realm.

Positive changes for Kenyan women (Vital Voices):

  • Women’s access to institutions
  • Access to justice
  • Ability to control and use property
  • Promotion of equality in business
Kenyan women listen to a presentation outlining their rights under the new Constitution. USAID promotes gender equality and empowers women to play a powerful role in the development of Kenya. (source: USAID Kenya)

Kenyan women listen to a presentation outlining their rights under the new Constitution. USAID promotes gender equality and empowers women to play a powerful role in the development of Kenya. (source: USAID Kenya)

In Kenya, micro financing has provided opportunities for women to participate in the economy and begin to lay the foundation for sustainable development. By allowing women to independently own and operate business, these micro-lenders help foster the skills and abilities of women all over the globe.

Week 11: Micro-financing and Development Models

Grameen Foundation Logo (source: OFA)

Grameen Foundation Logo (source: OFA)

The Grameen Foundation aims to connect the world’s poor to their potential by uniting their determination and skills with the resources they need. Focusing on financial services, health, agriculture, and anti-poverty since 1997 the Grameen Foundation has made an impact in Sub-Saharan Africa through the creation of mobile-based solutions and access to financial services.

Muhammad Yunus (source: grameen-info)

Muhammad Yunus, founder (source: grameen-info)

The bank model refers to a ‘village bank’ for the poor that is based on principles of trust and solidarity (Grameen-info). ‘Micro-loans’ helped poor, small business owners in an attempt to harness entrepreneurial spirit. The Grameen Bank, a microfinance organization values community development and won the Noble Peace prize in 2006. They target the rural poor in countries such as Ghana and Kenya via mobile technology that delivers information services and financial assistance. In Ghana, the Foundation works with the Ghana Health Service, endeavoring to develop maternal and neonatal care in communities where health care is lacking. The Mobile Technology for Community Health (MOTECH) initiative has delivered health information to youth and rural farmers. The mobile-based system in Kenya helps farmers properly store crops and connect the to markets for sale of their product (Grameen Foundation).

(source: KIVA)

KIVA’s mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. As a microfinance institution, they partner with microfinance institutions to provide loans to people who don’t have access to traditional banking systems (KIVA). Here are some of the partnerships:

KIVA logo (source: Epiphany Channel)

KIVA logo (source: Epiphany Channel)

“It’s time to stop pretending that the aid-based development model currently in place will generate sustained economic growth in the world’s poorest countries,” (Moyo 144).

Moyo’s Dead Aid proposal for development consists of three stages:

  1. Economic plan which reduces a country’s reliance on aid
  2. Choose a finance alternative
  3. Strengthening of institutions
    • Accountability and transparency

Sachs’ suggests a slightly different solution, calling for the reform of globalization. “Enlightened Globalization” includes a globalization of democracies, multilateralism, science and technology, and a global economic system designed to meet human needs (Sachs 359). He also provides nine steps towards the goal:

  1. Commitment to ending poverty
    • Halving poverty by 2015 and ending extreme poverty by 2025
  1. Adopt a plan of action
  2. Raise the voice of the poor
  3. Redeem the role of the US in the world
  4. Rescue the IMF and the World Bank
  5. Strengthen the United Nations
  6. Harness global service
  7. Promote sustainable development
  8. Make a personal commitment

Both Moyo and Sachs highlight the importance of an alternative plan of action, as well as the strengthening of institutions, including the IMF and the World Bank. Corruption, disease, poverty, and war can all easily cross international borders, making the necessity for intervention even stronger. For example, stolen money sent to a European bank can fund terrorist activities in other parts of the world. On the other hand, poverty and war prompt refugee flight and unchecked immigration, placing burdens on Western economies.

Many argue over whether or not Africa really needs aid, including Andrew Mwenda, who suggests we focus on the opportunities for creating wealth and happiness on the African continent.

(source: TED)

Week 9: Ending Extreme Poverty

In Jeffery Sachs’ discussion of development assistance he proposes that it might be more harmful to the global community if those who are able, the wealthy, do not help the poor. It is not a question of ability, but a suggestion that if they don’t, the consequences will outweigh the modest costs. Sach’s provides five reasons why the effort to help the poor will not be as taxing as many people believe:

  • The numbers of extreme poor have declined to a relatively small proportion of the world’s population
  • The goal is to end extreme poverty, not all poverty
  • Success in ending the poverty trap will be much easier than it appears
    • Get practical, investments in specific areas
      • Roads, power, water, sanitation
    • The rich world today is so vastly rich
      • Modest increase in taxation or a burst of large-scale philanthropy
    • Our tools are more powerful than ever

The End of Poverty targets less than one percent of the rich-world income for foreign aid. Highlighting the role of a few big countries, such as the United States, Japan, and Germany, Sachs’ proposes that they would account for ninety percent of the increase. While many Americans are displeased with the widening gap between the rich and the poor and I agree with Sach’s proposition, the reality may hinder progress. A 0.7 percent of GDP to foreign aid (USA) is not unfathomable, but political strain and economic stability could make things difficult.

“All of the incessant debate about development assistance, and whether the rich are doing enough to help the poor, actually concerns less than one percent of the rich-world income” (288 Sachs).

In Ghana, the sector breakdown of ODA highlights the extreme need for aid directed at education, health, and infrastructure. By supporting financial investments in basic needs, Ghana will see significant improvement.

I believe that the taxing the rich is a sustainable solution in the short run, but could be damaging in future years. Even Sachs’ realizes this is not feasible long term, for the actual economic flow may be much smaller than we realize. His proposal is, ““not meant to suggest that money in such amounts should automatically be levied on the rich and turned over to the poor” (Sachs 292). The actual transfer of funds must be based on rigorous, country-specific plans that are developed through open and consultative processes. Sachs is assuming that high-income countries will meet their MDG commitments, increasing aid and gross ODA, ““MDGs can be financed within the bounds of the official development assistance that the donor countries have already promised” (Sachs 301). But he does identify future problems, highlighting the effects of climate change on developing countries, for they require substantial assistance. This could mean a potentially large expense as the countries adapt to changing climates.

The world looked a lot different in 2004, when Sachs predicted extreme poverty would have declined to about twenty percent in 2015.

He anticipated that most of the developing world would have been freed from the poverty trap, which is not necessarily the case. About 15% of the world still lives in extreme poverty. While the rate of extreme poverty has fallen, places such as Sub-Saharan Africa are still suffering (World Bank).

Kenya’s poverty rates:

2004: 57% (poverties.org)

2014: 45.9% (World Bank)

Sachs identifies a number of ‘myths’ about Africa’s economic and social values, attempting to combat the incorrect assumptions about the continent’s inability to sustain development. Here are some of the examples:

  • Any aid would go right down the drain
  • Education levels are so low that even previously successful programs would fail
    • I disagree slightly with Sachs’ suggestion that this is a myth. Without basic education, many advancements in technology and health would be obstructed
  • Africa lacks modern values and institutions of a free market
  • If our aid saves Africa’s children there will just be a population explosion and a lot more hungry people

To say that African lacks modern values is extremely ethnocentric and I believe that Sachs accurately evaluates the harm caused by such myths. The prejudices against Africa are historically rooted, but also contemporarily expressed. I have heard people attempt to make the argument that Africa is underdeveloped due to the lack of democracy and modern values before. Democracy is not right for ever country and to try to impose our social and political values on a place we know almost nothing about is ignorant. If we think globally about the benefits from eliminating extreme poverty, perhaps we can establish a coherent global society. To think globally means rising above the conventional rich-world wisdoms about Africa that oppresses continuing development. We must understand that the poor are not condemned by their cultures or values, but that they are merely different than ours.

Part II: Dead Aid


The Chinese strategy to become a dominant force in Africa included an aggressive investment assault, using its “muscle of money”. Moyo emphasizes the objections and concerns voiced by the European Investment Bank, the editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine. Between the human rights violations during the 2008 Olympics and the undercutting of social and environmental conditions by Chinese lenders, it is not hard to understand the objections to China in Africa. Moyo goes on to say that there is a decidedly positive view of China in Africa and, “to say that the average African is not benefitting at all is falsehood,” (Moyo 109). Favorable views outnumber critical judgments and the majority believes China is more beneficial than America. China’s involvement in rebuilding the Nigerian railroad can be seen as another attempt to tighten their financial grip on Africa. Offering an investment with no strings attached is an example of how Chinese pragmatism can overshadow international forces, such as the World Bank.

Week 8: Poverty Reduction Strategy and Capital Solution

“Successful plans to fight poverty require country ownership and broad based support from the public in order to succeed. A PRSP contains an assessment of poverty and describes the macroeconomic, structural, and social policies and programs that a country will pursue over several years to promote growth and reduce poverty, as well as external financing needs and the associated sources of financing. They are prepared by governments in low-income countries through a participatory process involving domestic stakeholders and external development partners, including the IMF and the World Bank” -Definition of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers from the International Monetary Fund 

The poverty reduction strategies addressed by Jeffery Sachs in The End of Poverty were implemented in 1999 by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers approach (PRSP) attempts to provide an intermediary between nations, donors, and the Millennium Development Goals. The core principles of this approach are identified as country-driven participation of civil society, result-oriented and comprehensive outcomes, and partnership-oriented development (IMF). By providing realistic plans and governance reforms, the PRSP approach has had an impact one hundred and twenty-seven times in predominately low-income countries.

Sach’s provides both Ghana’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) and Uganda’s Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) as examples of notable quality in Africa. He highlights that many times the strategies are underfunded and as a result may lack in areas, such as public investment.

Ghana’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (source: http://politics.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201309/113802.php)

Ghana’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (source: http://politics.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201309/113802.php)

Ghana’s Poverty Reduction Strategy

  • Discusses current social and political aspirations
  • Existing goals of development policy
  • Acceleration of economic growth will permit the implementation of the MDGs
    • Educational targets (basic-level)
    • Human rights
  • Need for rapid transformation of the structure of internal production and foreign trade
  • Serve the rising needs of a growing population
  • Allocation of budgetary resources to basic pro-poor services
    • Primary education, water access, public health

Uganda’s Poverty Eradication Action Plan

A transformed Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern country within thirty years

  • Continued GDP growth rate of about 8%
  • Decrease the proportion of people living below the poverty line to 24.5% in 2014/2015
  • Address the structural bottlenecks that accelerate socio-economic transformation for prosperity
    • Create jobs, raise income, improve labor force, raise HDI
  • Private sector will remain the engine of growth and development
    • Quasi-market environment
  • Encourage foreign investors
  • Promote institutional and regulatory framework that promotes public-private partnerships

In both the Kenyan and Ugandan PRSPs, the emphasis on partner-oriented development is evident. The broad consultation with development partners (WTO and IMF staff) and member countries to create the reduction strategy papers provides realistic and flexible frameworks to help struggling nations achieve the MDGs (WTO).

Cover of Dead Aid

           Cover of Dead Aid

Moyo provides insight on capital solution in light of the bonds issued to international capital markets in order to finance development programs. This includes:

  • Infrastructure
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Government expenditures
    • Military, civil service, trade imbalances

In order to access the bond market and issue a bond, countries must get a rating, assessing the risk that a country may or may not repay its loans. They must also examine the emerging bond market’s return. Emerging market bonds returned some 35% and JP Morgan’s EMBI+ index of such bonds performed better against American government bonds by 15%, according to Moyo. South Africa is a good example, for when it declined international bonds, its position in the league tables will fall. Some countries do not appear on any lists or charts because they might have left the bond market willingly or as they mature they reduce the number of bonds they issue in favor of domestic savings and tax. A country’s rating is not only important for its ability to issue debt, but the ratings for companies within its borders.

Emerging Market Bond Index in Sub-Saharan Africa (source: qz.com)

Emerging Market Bond Index in Sub-Saharan Africa (source: qz.com)

A credit rating is used by sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and other investors to gauge the credit worthiness of Kenya thus having a big impact on the country’s borrowing costs (Trading Economics). Kenya has a stable. B+ rating on the Standard & Poors index. More information on S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch ratings are found on Trading Economics.

FDI Inflow (source: kariobangi)

FDI Inflow (source: kariobangi)

In order to receive foreign direct investment (FDI), Moyo suggests that a country receive a credit rating, find and convince investors, and make a plan to repay the loan. The global flow of FDI to Sub-Saharan Africa have increased in recent years, with capital flowing from new investors such as China and India. In Kenya, investor opportunities and investment capital are limited by exploitation of mineral resources and bilateral political policies. On the other hand, Kenya is a desirable investment destination because of its educated and skilled workforce, a relatively strong infrastructure, and membership in regional trade blocs (The Republic of Kenya).

Week 7: How Dead is Aid?

According to Dambisa Moyo, author of Dead Aid, there are four alternative sources of funding for developing African economies, including sovereign and private bond markets, foreign direct investment, international trade, and microfinance. By integrating these economies into the global community, especially Kenya and Rwanda, I think these alternative sources are viable. I would argue that microfinance has drawbacks, at times creating unsustainable debt accumulation, in which poverty due to deprivation is supplanted with poverty because of debt.

Dead Aid: Why aid is not working and how there is another way for Africa (source:http://www.dambisamoyo.com/books-and-publications/book/dead-aid)

Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is Another Way For Africa (source:www.dambisamoyo.com)

Large-scale aid transfers date as far back as the nineteenth century, Moyo highlights the British Colonial Development Act of 1929, which gave grants for infrastructure projects in poorer countries. Then there was post-war aid, which manifested during industrialization. It aimed to prevent poverty, promote democracy, provide a stable world economy, promote international monetary cooperation, and prevent possible global financial crisis. After seeing how aid worked in Europe, richer countries turned to Africa, highlighting the emerging development agenda. Insisting that investment capital was critical for economic growth, developing and newly independent states were targeted by Britain and America. Moyo identifies the successes of the Marshall Plan (a rescue package, worth up to $20 billion for Europe after WWII) and the freed resources of the World Bank and IMF as drivers of historical aid.

The Washington Consensus was a set policies that were needed for “first stage policy reform” to increase economic growth. It emphasized the importance of macroeconomic stability and integration into the international economy. These policies included fiscal discipline, trade liberalization, and a reduced role for the state (WHO). This neoliberal consensus was controversial, for these policies required the elimination of subsidies, which could harm the domestic agriculture economy.

Both Moyo’s website and TED talks highlight the role of China in the fluctuating global economy. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in China is evidence of the success of alternative sources for aid. Instead of simply giving money to developing countries, China has provided infrastructure in exchange for goods.

In this powerful talk, economist Dambisa Moyo makes the case that the west can’t afford to rest on its laurels and imagine others will blindly follow. Instead, a different model, embodied by China, is increasingly appealing. A call for open-minded political and economic cooperation in the name of transforming the world.

Glamour aid has been trend over the past two decades and Moyo says, “my voice can’t compete with an electric guitar”. We can take Bono as an example of a celebrity that uses their public profile to raise awareness for a certain cause or ask for donations. Moyo is suggesting that her criticism of current aid is overshadowed by the support of popular culture. Rwandan President Kagame’s statement about geopolitical rivalries is referring to, “the primary reason [that there is little to show for the more than $300 billion of aid that has gone to Africa since 1970] is that in the context of post-Second World War geopolitical and strategic rivalries and economic interests, much of this aid was spent on creating and sustaining client regimes of one type or another, with minimal regard to developmental outcomes on our continent”.

Bono presented Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi with the Ambassador of Conscience Award. (source: WFJA)

Bono presented Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi with the Ambassador of Conscience Award. (source: WFJA)

According to Moyo, there are many reasons why aid in African countries is not working. These include historical, cultural, and geographical aspects of many of these developing countries. She highlights the lack of natural resources in some areas and a resource curse in others. Historical exploitation, including colonialism and slavery, has not provided the necessary economic atmosphere for successful aid. Moyo also argues that these reasons “do not tell the whole story”, suggesting that historical failure cannot dictate future success.

Moyo’s suggestions include weaning Africa off its addiction to aid, using a gradual reduction in systematic aid over the next decade. By investing in the rather stable bond market, African countries could possibly avoid having to rely on aid. In Kenya and Rwanda, these solutions might be able to overcome the poverty trap by not relying on external assistance.

As African aid rose, growth slowed. (source: World Development Indicators Online)

As African aid rose, growth slowed. (source: World Development Indicators Online)

In The End of Poverty, Jeffery Sachs analyzes how the poverty trap forces people to remain poor and prevents mobility. He suggests that official development assistance (ODA) will help jump-start the process of economic growth, allowing people to break out of poverty. Moyo counters his solution with the argument that Sach’s estimate of total investment in MDGs way overshot the actual need. Supporting that further aid was merely funneling more money than necessary. She offers that bond market investment, like in Ghana, could be a viable solution to the “aid path”.