Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 26, 2013 5:20 PM—Book Review: Why Foreign Aid Isn’t Working—The Trouble with Africa


I just finished Why Foreign Aid Isn’t Working: The Trouble with Africa by Robert Calderisi.  Calderisi worked in Africa for almost 30 years and his most prominent position was being the spokesman for Africa in the World Bank.  He shares in this book many facts, stories and insights that definitely ring true throughout Africa.

This book begins with setting the stage and giving the audience some background information on this troubled continent.  Then Calderisi moves on to a few case studies (namely Tanzania, Ivory Coast and Central Africa).  Next he discusses foreign aid and all the different aspects of it from culture to economics and beyond.  And finally he gives his advice. He even lists ten ways he thinks Africa can be changed.

This book really struck me because he doesn’t take an all or nothing approach to foreign aid.  He feels there is a safe medium and that it needs to be found.  He also acknowledges that not all Africans are bringing down this continent.  In fact, many of those who could help have been leaving Africa to go to America or Europe.  I also really enjoyed this book because it was written by someone whom you can tell really knows Africa and Africans.  Calderisi has worked hands-on with the locals in many of the positions he’s held and he wrote this book based on many of the insights he has gotten from local people.  One of the things I found most interesting is that he deems Uganda as one of the better off African countries.  He really feels this country has done well for itself ever since Museveni took power in the 1980’s.  He suggests giving Uganda more free reign in their economy and foreign aid.

This book was written in 2006, so it may be a little dated, but from what I can tell it is all still relevant today.  I would definitely suggest it because it really gets into the economics of this country in a way I’ve never seen before and it makes it easier to grasp these realities.

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