Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dambisa, Obama, Economy...lawd help me!

So after my hiatus (that's right! I learnt a new English word!), I have decided to blog a little...even though I have loads of things to do.
I can not even tell you how much stress I have been under....lawd gimme the strength! It has been hard, but I am here, and I am happy, and I know how strong I can be.

Will fill you in as we go along over the days...
So in the mean time, I got a new job ...yay! I also get my own company toys: lap top and cell phone and all, I am sooo excited! There are going to be sooo many changes in my life this year, it's not even funny!
I still don't have my passport...but my mummy is here, and she will take care of it. That's her job as a mummy:-)

So moving on....Dambisa Moyo: Dead aid
There has been much ado about this Zambian lady who went to the same secondary school as I did. She has been described as beautiful by some papers, intelligent by others, and some locals complained about her, which reminds me I need to get a new hair do.
My views on her book are thus:
if "corrupt" governments can't adequately help the general masses with donor funds...what will their incentives be without aid?
The title of the book suggests Africa is a country and not a continent. Solutions for Ghana can not be solutions for Zambia. They are not equal.
China doesn't keep profits in Africa when it makes money and surely the poor don't profit from that
I understand that she would like us to get into dialog over the issue which is great-- thing is it's not a new platform. It has been debated for years (see better arguments on same issue by Ali Mazuri- an old Kenyan man). Once you read his stance on the same issue, and the different way he presents and studies it, you will understand why I think her topic is good but not well investigated. She sort of says South Africa is a good example while it is not...and if you follow the market closely, you will see that SA will be Zimbabwe in 10 or so years if they don't watch it. Her idea is not new, and should not be treated as such, the adage "give a man fish, and he will be hungry forever, Teach him to fish...etc has been something we have known for years.
I am not saying she is completely wrong, but she is very shaky on subject matter. I may not have a PhD in Economics, but I have been following African matters and issues for years, and can safely say she is mistaken on several things surrounding the political economy or that aid causes corruption and conflict. Aid may contribute to conflict, but it is not a cause. Congo with or without aid will continue to have civil unrest for many other reasons than aid. Countries help other countries when they have a VESTED reason. She is right that billions have been sent to Africa as aid since the 70's. She is wrong however when she fights for fair trade. Read opinions on fair trade by OXFAM...or better yet ask a local trader in Zambia their thoughts on cheap Chinese goods and what that does to their market base.
Her proposal to cut aid in 5 years is crazy irresponsible as an economist and a Zambian. Especially to try and present this issue before the G20 summit. If this were to happen, imagine how many schools, clinics, shelters, orphanages...etc would be shut down! How many lives will be lost from this bad planning? The problem is not that aid doesn't work-- everyone knows that. It's finding new EFFECTIVE ways to utilize that aid. Even the United Nations and many others have been working at finding a solution to using resources wisely for the last few years, and that is what I do not find well spelt out in her book.
AS the person who marched in England with Jubilee 2000-- I find it offensive for her to say some stuff about Bono and the crew. Without the help of those types of people and the work done by the Jubilee campaign...a lot of the African debt dropped by foreign countries would have not been possible! They worked tirelessly for debt cancellation-- something she is not credited with.
That is my mini take on the matter...and I can expand if needed. Look out for my book "why I just LOOOVE aid" in book stores near you.

Okay...I am tired of dumb ass commentary every time I turn around about people thinking he should have been able to fix the economy by now, and they disappointed by what he has not been able to do so far. I am also quite put out by critics of the stimulus and such. You can criticise as much as you want to, but dude...where is your proposal???? I am all for people making their own legitimate and sound proposals and bringing it to the medias attention to show why they thing Obama sucks...and why their plan is more sound. After all, the economy is not a single party issue-- it's a global issue.
I want to know where the critics were when my best buddy-- BFF for life G.W. Bush was increasing debt and using money in places he shouldn't have been. They didn't ask his reasoning because criticizing the government at that time was tantamount to treason. Now that the media can speak, I think they are acting irresponsibly and without giving the guy (Obama) a chance to work. All I want to know is... If everything Obama is doing is wrong, what exactly is right???
The economy didn't get screwed up over night, and it can not be fixed over night. His plans make sense when he says the results will be years from now. Not in the near future.
You know I am a firm believer in the fact that the health care system in the United States has to be revamped. So I think he is right in putting money into that--and the Insurance companies and the people that benefit will fight this for life.
I also believe in affordable education and back his putting money into that to. Educating the masses is a big factor in a strong economy...and if people don't see how, then I don't know how to make that clearer.
Change in policy: but of course. Gas and electric companies have increased prices, and it's in every ones best interest to deregulate

aww--rite, I am getting back to my real life:)
Missed you all...and missed blogging. Will try to do better now:-)


African girl, American world said...

shani mayo? long time....I agree about Zambian sister making the rounds about dead aid

Manena said...

Ala it's been rough! hopefully I will do a little better with blogging now:-)

Anonymous said...

Manena is back and blogging again
[ hey-la hey-la Manena is back ]
She took a hiatus and got a new job
[ hey-la hey-la Manena is back ]
She’s got a new laptop and will blog all day
[ la-day-la Manena is back ]
She keeps us informed of all the cool issues
[ la-day-la Manena is back ]
I’m so happy I will sing all day
[ hey-la hey-la Manena is back ]
I thought she got wedded and left the country
[ hey-la hey ………
OPPS! My bad! Stop singing. Stop singing!

Mwanja Phiri said...

I just finished reading your blog and i could not agree with you more on what Dambisa's thoughts are about cutting aid to Africa.I have not read her book yet but from the interview she had on TV, Iam convinced that she has no clue on what's going on in African Governments. she could not support most of the questions posed to her during that interview and makes me think twice about even taking the time to read her book.

supernaturalone said...

It seems all of you who have commented as well as the writer of the above so called review do not know what you are talking about and you do not understand what Dambisa Moyo is talking about.

Whats dambisa is saying Aid must stop African governments should stand up on their own two feet by being responsible. The Americans, the Europeans, Australia and many other countries even our neighbour Botswana does not rely on Aid. Lets look at Botsawana about twenty years ago Botswana was poor and Botswana got Independence a poor country. BUt they have developed it own their own and they do not qualify for Aid. They have tried to apply the IMF and world bank and other countries cant give them aid. BUt they can borrow money and pay it back. This is because its economy is doing fine. Zambia was a rich country at independence but now a poor country and because the leaders rely on aid they dont work hard. And mostly this money is stolen by leaders for their own benefit not the people. BUt if the government made it own money through windfall taxes like Botswana does Zambia will become responsible for the money it uses. If Botswana managed why cant Zambia. Dont say they are diamonds in Botswana because Zambia too has Copper. Botswana makes money from taxing mining companies and other companies. But Zambia gives these companies tax breaks. The other thing Dambisa talks about is the government can also make money through the capital markets e.g the Lusaka stock exchange as other countries are doing.
When Dambisa is talking about cutting aid in five years five years is an example NOT a definite, it all depends on what stage the country is at.
When she is talking about getting rid of Aid she is talking about government to government aid NOT aid like OXFAM or WORLD VISION which is humanitarian aid.
I suggest you read the book.

Manena said...

Thanks for your enlightenment supernatural one. I am well aware that she meant government to government aid (DANIDA, SIDA...etc). I am sure you are aware that the biggest donors control choices made by charities making it difficult to differentiate between government or humanitarian aid.
My main point is that with aid coming in from other governments, our gove3rnment can pretend to work and actually achieve one or two things. With no outside control, our corrupt leaders have no incentive to do squat diddly for anyone.
On your point that Zambia has copper-- they once depended on it and I'm sure you know what historically happened.
Lastly-- depending on the stock market has failed developed nations. Zambia can not afford to gamble with the stock market and they are currently embracing big loan systems which are not viable for Zambia.
I do not claim DM is wrong on all counts. Please re-read the post.