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Good Fortune
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Perspectives on Foreign Aid

The Wall Street Journal: “Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa”
Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian-born economist and the author of Dead Aid, critically examines the effect of foreign aid on Africa and explains why Africa is mired in debt, corruption and poverty, even though aid money is pouring into the continent. (March 21, 2009)

Newsweek: “Helping Africa Save Itself”
This is a response to Dambisa Moyo’s critical assessment of foreign aid in Africa in Dead Aid, the same argument that is cited in the above article from The Wall Street Journal. Witney W. Schneidman, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, provides additional perspective on some of Moyo’s claims and points out flaws in some of Moyo’s statements. However, Schneidman acknowledges that Moyo’s work is important and necessary. (June 27, 2009)

The New York Review of Books: “Aid: Can It Work?”
Nicholas D. Kristof takes a look at a number of books about aid in Africa, including titles by Jeffrey Sachs, William Easterly and Robert Calderisi. The books, some of which vigorously support foreign aid and others of which are deeply skeptical of aid, offer a myriad of perspectives and arguments about what alleviates poverty. Kristof examines all sides of the argument and offers his own opinions about the positive effects of some foreign aid programs. (October 5, 2006)

The New York Times: “The Aid Debate: Helping Hand, or Hardly Helping?”
In this op-ed, author Michael M. Weinstein of the Council on Foreign Relations looks at the massive aid directed toward sub-Saharan Africa and reflects on whether such aid is a waste of resources or a lifeline for impoverished communities. (May 26, 2002)

Council on Foreign Relations: “U.S. Strategy and Politics: Foreign Aid”
A think tank and research institution, the Council on Foreign Relations publishes extensive reports written by policy experts and transcripts of debates and events. The website’s foreign aid page offers extensive coverage of aid-related news. Visitors can read expert briefs, such as “The Debate Over Foreign Aid” and “Capacity for Change: Reforming U.S. Assistance Efforts in Poor and Fragile Countries.”

TED: “Jacqueline Novogratz Invests in Africa’s Own Solutions”
In this video lecture for the nonprofit organization TED, Jacqueline Novogratz, the founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, a nonprofit that promotes entrepreneurial approaches to alleviate poverty, argues for a new approach to helping Africa that focuses on the private sector. Additional lectures by Novogratz, including talks on escaping poverty and ways of thinking about aid, are available on the TED website.

TED: “Bono’s Call to Action for Africa”
In this video lecture for TED, musician and activist Bono accepts the 2005 TED Prize and argues that need for aid to Africa constitutes a global emergency.

The Trouble With Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn’t Working (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)
Robert Calderisi, a World Bank official for Africa, insists that Africa’s slave trade and colonial past are not to blame for decades of economic shortfalls and an impoverished population. He suggests that Africa’s dysfunction is the product of dictatorial and corrupt governments, poor agricultural policy and the discouragement of private investment.

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007)
Drawing on decades of research, Paul Collier makes the case that standard foreign aid keeps the poorest countries at the bottom while globalization is helping more stable nations flourish.

The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. (New York: Penguin Press, 2006)
Former World Bank research economist William Easterly asserts that the current model of Western aid to impoverished countries does not incorporate measures for accountability or channels for input from aid recipients.

Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006)
Author Carol Lancaster considers why governments give foreign aid to poor countries and how this aid is used not only as a tool of domestic policy and as part of a political agenda, but also to apply political pressure.

Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009)
Dambisa Moyo, former head economist for Goldman Sachs’ economic research and strategy for its sub-Saharan Africa division, argues that general aid promotes dependency and corruption in African governments without effecting real change.


Kenya

Affordable Housing Institute: “Kibera, Africa’s Largest Slum”
A blog post from a nonprofit institute takes a look at Kibera in photographs and text and provides a first-hand exploration of the slum. (July 7, 2005)

IRIN: “Kibera, The Forgotten City”
This article from IRIN, a project of the U.N. office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs, provides an in-depth look at Kibera, focusing on the conditions in the slum, the many problems faced by its residents, the future of the site and more. (September 13, 2006)

Oxfam International: “Kenya Threatened by New Urban Disaster”
An Oxfam press release warns that rapid urbanization is putting residents of the city of Nairobi at risk. Sixty percent of Nairobi residents live in slums and have no or limited access to clean water and sanitation. The press release urges the Kenyan government and international donors to address this risky situation. (September 10, 2009)

Voice of Kibera
A website built with input from communities within Kibera, Voice of Kibera is a community media aggregator that uses a map interface to present news, photos and videos from within the Kibera slum.

Map Kibera
Until recently, there was no extant map of the Kibera slum. This crowd-sourced map was created by Kibera residents and Map Kibera project leads Erica Hagen and Mikel Maron.

Bloomberg Businessweek: “Land Rush in Africa”
Businesses are increasingly interested in acquiring farmland in developing countries. This article provides an overview of the rush to invest in farmland and takes a look at Calvin Burgess and Dominion Farms, among other participants. The article asks whether corporate farmers are the new colonialists. (November 25, 2009)

TED: “Ory Okolloh on Becoming an Activist”
In this video lecture for TED, a nonprofit conference and institution, Kenyan blogger and activist Ory Okolloh explains how she came to report on the Kenyan government’s activities. Okolloh blogs at Mzalendo, where she tracks the performance of Kenya’s parliament and parliamentarians, and also at Kenya Pundit.


PBS/NPR

PBS

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly: “Making Foreign Aid Work”
The U.S. government has a long history of trying to help poor countries get out of poverty. Since the end of World War II, the United States has given or loaned 150 countries more than $1 trillion. New York University professor William Easterly and other experts talk about whether aid works, looking specifically at the disaster in Haiti. (February 19, 2010)

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly: “World Hunger and U.S. Aid”
According to a new report from the Bread for the World Institute, a Christian anti-hunger group, the number of people living in extreme poverty has increased by 100 million in fewer than two years, and the number of hungry people has increased by more than 75 million. David Beckmann, president of the Bread for the World Institute, talks about hunger around the world and why the United States needs to provide more foreign assistance. (November 26, 2008)

RX for Survival: “Discussion: International Health Aid”
In this discussion, three experts on international health consider whether global health should become a priority for Americans. Does international aid for health do any good? Should Americans support increases in aid for international health? Allan Rosenfield, David Bloom and Philip J. Hilts discuss these questions and more. (March 2006)

NOW: “U.S. Aid Dollars in Perspective”
While the United States leads the world in total amount of dollars pledged to foreign aid, it doesn’t come close to the United Nations target of 0.7 percent of gross national product and is substantially lower than the average of efforts on the part of all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations — 0.41 percent. (January 7, 2005)

NPR

Planet Money: “A Marshall Plan for Africa”
Columbia economist and former economic adviser to the Bush administration Glenn Hubbard says it’s time to change the way we provide aid to Africa. Hubbard, co-author of The Aid Trap: Hard Truths About Ending Poverty, advocates a modern day Marshall Plan that would give money directly to local business instead of to governments. (November 2, 2009)

Morning Edition: “Economist: Aid To African Nations Not Working Well”
Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep talks to Zambian-born economist Dambisa Moyo about her book Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa. Moyo has been a consultant for the World Bank and an economic sub-Saharan Africa specialist for Goldman Sachs. She says American and European good intentions discourage innovation and breed corruption. (March 17, 2009)

Morning Edition: “Expert: Africa Needs More Than Foreign Aid”
Renee Montagne interviews George Ayittey, a professor of economics at American University, who asserts that Africa’s salvation doesn’t lie in additional aid. Ayittey argues that African leaders have mismanaged their resources and should be held accountable for corruption. (July 6, 2005)

Morning Edition: “Mali: A Case Study for Africa”
Ofeibia Quist-Arcton reports that the West African nation of Mali is one of the impoverished countries that could benefit from debt relief proposed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Economic development in Mali has been slow, but if debt forgiveness were implemented, it would have great potential for growth. (July 7, 2005)





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It’s important that we, as Western citizens, do what we can to combat extreme poverty. I hope this film can be the beginning of a discussion, and I hope that the way we administer aid in the future can change as a result.”

— Landon Van Soest, Filmmaker

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