Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Aid VS Trade Debate Rages On

The debate rages on in the development community between "aid versus trade" strategies for African development. Rest assured, there are absolutely no holds barred here.

In an article clearly aimed at pro-trade advocates like Dambisa Moyo, John McArthur of Millennium Promise argues that Africa has actually made considerable progress in both economic and social development contrary to the opinion that there has been a long-term decline in these areas due to Western aid. "Debunking the Claims of African Regress", lists a few examples of where Africa, compared to South Asia, has reduced extreme poverty, expanded AIDs treatement, and decreased mortality rates.
"These are just a few of the success stories arising from strong local leadership and supportive international partnership. These successes can be replicated and expanded, which is why it is so important to debunk the claims of African regress and to understand how misguided it is when people call for the international community to disengage from supporting Africa."
Ouch! McArthur's article is most certainly entertaining and it does rightly identify some successes in African development. However, it ignores a whole host of failures in the recent past that Moyo and others allege are a result of aid dependency. I personally, would spend a good amount of my summer intern stipend for a ticket to see a debate between Dambiasa Moyo and John McArthur.

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