Foreign Aid

Business big shot: Dambisa Moyo, director, SABMiller

Ian King
The Times Online
June 3, 2009

Few people dare to take on the likes of Bob Geldof on the issue of development and aid to Africa — but Dambisa Moyo, who joined the board of the brewing giant SABMiller on Monday, has done just that.

Dr Moyo, who was born and educated in Lusaka, Zambia, has challenged the orthodoxy on aid with Dead Aid, a controversial new book which argues that, contrary to bettering the lives of impoverished Africans, the $1 trillion aid directed at the continent over the past 50 years has made matters worse.

She argues that over-reliance on aid has trapped developing nations in a vicious circle of dependency and corruption — leaving them with nothing but a requirement for more aid. Foreign development officials, she adds, have no interest in breaking this circle because, if they did, they would be out of a job.

Her views, predictably, have angered many. Currently on a speaking tour to promote Dead Aid, she said: “I believe that the aid system has made many African governments so lazy they have created a vacuum where anyone, in this case celebrities, feels it is OK to jump in and start propounding policy on Africa.”

SABMiller, whose origins are in South Africa and whose brands include Grolsch, Miller Lite, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, is certainly excited at Dr Moyo’s arrival on its board as a non-executive director.

Meyer Kahn, the chairman, said: “Dambisa Moyo’s rare combination of academic experience and real world expertise, combined with a deep knowledge of global economic trends and a real concern for Africa, a continent to which we are hugely committed, will bring a new perspective to our deliberations and will be of great value to SABMiller.”

Dr Moyo, 40, was recently named by Time magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people. Armed with a doctorate in economics from Oxford University and a masters in government from Harvard, Dr Moyo was a consultant at the World Bank from 1993-95 and worked at Goldman Sachs between 2001 and 2008 in debt capital markets and as an economist.

Dr Moyo, whose father runs an anti-corruption organisation and whose grandfather was a South African mine worker, is also a patron for Absolute Return for Kids, the charity founded by Arki Busson, the hedge fund manager.

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