Monday, October 12, 2009

In other words, Dambisa Moyo is right...

...although the "experts" at the international aid/assistance funding trough would never (could never) admit it:

The question is why. The criticism that development aid isn't working, or is counterproductive, is almost as old as development aid itself. And experts have torn Moyo's book apart because of its juggled statistics, one-sided interpretations and lack of a credible alternative to development aid.

Ton Dietz, scientific director of the institute for development issues at the University of Amsterdam, offers an explanation: "She's cute, glamorous and well-spoken. This works well in an entertainment-driven society."

Farah Karimi, director of Oxfam Novib, also refers to Moyo as a 'media hype'. Karimi attended Moyo's lecture on Wednesday in Amsterdam, where an extra room had to be opened up to accommodate the hundreds of people who showed up. Karimi says it's a good thing Moyo has given the debate about the effectiveness of aid a new impulse, but she feels the "shortsighted" way she has done so is "inherent of the times we live in".

Karimi compares Moyo to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-Dutch anti-Islam crusader. "In the end, what has Hirsi Ali really accomplished with her harsh criticism of Islam? She offered few solutions for the integration issue, and she polarised people. Who still talks about her now?"

Dietz is afraid the media's portrayal of Moyo as an expert has undermined the support base for development aid at a time when more nuance is what is needed.