The Bookshelf Dismantle-Repair
The nature of foreign aid has changed. What was once a conversation solely for the world’s governments has become democratized through private philanthropy, remittances, personal networks, local nonprofits doing global work and of course trade, business and investment. Indeed globalization has raised questions concerning the meaning and nature of foreign aid. In particular: What works? What doesn’t? And how can private forces be harnessed for growth and development?
In 2010 the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation tasked Sagamore Institute with answering these and other questions through the Bradley Project on Africa. The project, which can be viewed at www.bradleyafrica.org, is a virtual literature review that captures the conversation surrounding the changing nature of foreign aid and showcases how it has played out on the African landscape.
In particular, the literature review found that the old approach to foreign aid through government-to-government flows has failed to produce any meaningful development. And that these failures are by-and-large a consequence of an improper paradigm that treats development as though it were relief.
Relief is concerned with directing emergency assistance to areas affected by war or natural disasters. In these circumstances, aid inflows are effective to “stop the bleeding” and help a society recover. Development, however, is a long-term process of cultivating institutions that lead to human flourishing. A relief mentality manifested in the use of foreign aid applied to development has not worked. Definitively, development is a byproduct of good governance coupled with market forces—and aid supports neither.
In Africa, there is perhaps no greater living case study of this new approach than Rwanda.
Nineteen years out from genocide, Rwanda has emerged as the leading model for economic development in Africa. But the country’s performance has been impressive by almost any metric: least corrupt and most stable country in Africa, sustained 8 percent growth, 1 million people lifted out of poverty, dropping infant mortality rate, improved infrastructure, improved access to education. Not to mention this “land of a thousand hills” has been hailed as the world’s best-kept secret for business by Forbes magazine.
To elevate the conversation and amplify the Rwanda model, the Bradley Project morphed into a free-market think tank called ISOKO Institute. Located in Kigali, Rwanda, ISOKO Institute was inaugurated in 2011 by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, banking magnate Dale Dawson, advisor to President Kagame Michael Fairbanks, and Sagamore President Jay Hein. Building on the foundation laid by the Bradley Project on Africa, ISOKO’s agenda is threefold: Building an entrepreneurial base, attracting foreign direct investment, and creating a policy environment that supports both.
In the following pages you’ll catch a glimpse into the development debate that laid the foundations for ISOKO Institute through the Bradley Project on Africa: into the tensions that exist between aid vs. trade; top-down vs. bottom-up; market forces vs. central planning; and human freedom vs. entitlement. The left side of the fold “dismantles” the pre-existing foreign aid paradigm by exposing its weaknesses. The right side of the fold offers a new framework built on the works of leading development thinkers.
Dismantling what doesn’t work
[Image: Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid]
Caption: In her seething critique of the foreign aid regime Zambian Economist Dambisa Moyo decries the West’s attempts at development as not only unhelpful, but caustic—Aid inhibits economic growth, creates dependence and promotes corruption. According to Moyo, none of the developing countries—Asian Tigers—that have seen remarkable economic growth over the last 50 years have done so with the help of foreign aid.
[Image of Easterly’s White Man’s Burden]
Caption: William Easterly flips the foreign aid paradigm upside down by calling attention to the many entrepreneurs—who he calls Searchers—in the developing world who are capable of developing piecemeal solutions to the problems of daily life. Like Moyo, Easterly denounces foreign aid on the grounds that development is too complex for “Planners” to bring in top-down solutions and best practices. The foreign aid regime hasn’t worked because it relies on outside prescriptions to local challenges.
[Image of Sachs’ End of Poverty]
Caption: Jeffery Sachs represents the best intentions of the foreign aid regime. Unlike the other thinkers, Sachs believes that the world’s poor requires more, not less, aid. For him, the increased aid needs to be channeled into pre-made solutions for the poor such as water-purifications systems, mosquito nets, and contraceptives. Sachs’ approach is a call to the world elite to bring in outside solutions and money to solve the problems of the poor for them.
[Image of the Collier’s Bottom Billion]
Caption: Collier’s Bottom Billion diagnoses the problem of the world’s poorest as a series of interlocking traps: Conflict, Natural Resources, Being Landlocked (with bad neighbors), and poor governance. These traps create a vicious cycle that prevents any country—mostly African—from pursuing meaningful development. For Collier, the aid-driven agenda of the G8 and celebrity activists has been little more than a “headless heart.”
[Image of Glen Hubbard’s The Aid Trap]
Caption: Aid may be well intentioned, but its effects have been lackluster at best. To date, aid has been misdirected toward government programs—which breeds corruption—and to NGOs, which create no real wealth for a society. For Hubbard, aid isn’t the problem as much as how it has been distributed.
Africa's Changing Tide
Sagamore Fellow Takes Up Post in Liberia
Income Defeats Poverty
Women's Empowerment: Key to African Development
A Roadmap for Promoting Women's Economic Empowerment
Bradley Project on Africa
The Bradley Project on Africa Bookshelf
3 Myths that Block Progress for the Poor
Africa's Homegrown Development Solutions
The Rwanda Model
Arkansas Bridge to Africa
Doing Business in Africa
Companies Traded on Africa's Stock Exchanges
Africa's New Marketplace
In Focus: A Fortune 500 Company Finds Consumers in Africa
Q&A: Zain Latif, TLG Capital
China in Africa
China in Africa: A New Model of International Development
The African Lion and the Dragon in the East
Dambisa Moyo on China in Africa
China in Africa
Singapore and Africa - Lessons from Singapore
Promise of Africa
The Promise of Africa
The True Size of Africa