She is a beautiful African woman with brains to die for and author of a sensational book DEAD AID that has rocked the world of International Development.
Amongst those who have reviewed her thesis is Chola Mukanga a fellow Zambian and Head of Aviation Economics at the Department for Transport UK.
Chola has said that he is not conviced by Dambisa’s arguments and that her radical solutions are ineffective and could potentially lead to failed states.
I do agree that turning off the AID tap in 5 years could potentially be catastrophic and that AID from the Chinese is not the answer to ending poverty in Africa nor are remittances from the diaspora. I am very nervous about the Chinese involvement in Africa!
I however don’t believe that we should sit back and do nothing. I understand that some if not all sub-Saharan African countries rely on AID to make up budget deficits. My question is, how effective are these governments are at collecting Taxes?
Most African countries have a large percentage of people in informal employment/economic activities that go untaxed mostly because there are no systems and processes in place to gather this revenue. How much would this revenue be worth to these governments, if it were collected? Could it go some way in balancing those government budgets perhaps?
Whilst AID remains crucial in cases of emergencies and jump starting African economies it also creates dependency and Chola asks how can this AID be made smarter, better and beneficial to poor?
I am not an economist but common sense tells me that so long as African governments continue to see AID as the only way to balance their books then we are in trouble.
A process that will see countries reducing their reliance on AID is desirable and in my mind this process includes increased Trade but through a VALUE ADDED system as opposed to exporting of raw materials, as well as increased internal revenue collection through income taxes.
Chola’s has point to some extent AID cannot be turned off in 5 years without due regard to the consequences likewise Dambisa’s solutions would require hard work and commitment on the part of African governments and citizens as well as donor governments but not doing anything is not an answer
What are your views?