Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo, and author of “Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa”, is an outspoken critic of international aid, arguing for years that foreign handouts stifle Africa’s development, perpetuate corruption and hinder the continent’s growth.
In a new interview with CNN, Moyo explains why she’s optimistic about the future of Africa. She looks at the positive impact that China can have on the continent and details the key drivers that will spur Africa’s economic growth. Some briefs:
CNN: The Chinese story has been thrown into the mix, has that changed the landscape?
DM: Yes, absolutely, but in a strange way it’s exactly what we need in terms of delivering economic growth and meaningfully reducing poverty. We need jobs, we need investment, we need trade, we need foreign direct investment, whether investment domestically but also from the outside. It’s not some magic pill, everybody knows that this is the formula, and finally the Chinese are showing up, again, not just in Africa, but around the world with that elixir, that mix of opportunities to really transform these countries.
CNN: A lot of people are critical of Chinese “neo-colonialism” but you argue that’s not the case.
DM: Well, it’s not, because China has so many economic problems in itself. You know, this is a population of 1.3 billion people with 300 million people that live at the level of Western living style. So they’ve got a billion people to move out of poverty. The notion that they would be spending their time trying to colonize other places is just, frankly, absurd.
I’m not saying that China should be given a red carpet, carte blanche, to come into Africa or, indeed, anywhere in the world, and do what they like. We do need the investment, we need job creation and we do need actual trade in these places. But I think what’s really essential is to focus on what China can do for Africa, as well as what Africa can do for China. And I think that discussion is not had as objectively as it should be.