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Aid to Africa is Doing More Harm Than Good

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Despite decades of foreign aid for development and humanitarian programs in Africa, access to basic nutrition and health care is still widely unavailable and government corruption is rampant. Does African aid actually contribute to quality of life gains for people in need? Or does foreign intervention foster instability, dependence, and political corruption? 

The Debaters

For the motion

George Ayittey

Prominent Ghanaian Economist and President of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington, DC

George is the distinguished economist in residence at American University. He has written many articles and papers, and contributed chapters to many... Read More

William Easterly

Professor of Economics at New York University, Joint with Africa House, and Co-Director of NYU’s Development Research Institute

William is also a non-resident fellow of the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC. His areas of expertise are the determinants of long-run... Read More

David Rieff

Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute at The New School and a fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University

David is on the board of the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Institute. He has written seven books, most recently At the Point of a Gun... Read More

Against the motion

C. Payne Lucas

Writer, Speaker and Activist

Lucas was co-founder and president of Africare from 1971 through mid-2002. He is a senior advisor to AllAfrica Global Media and the AllAfrica Foundation... Read More

John McArthur

Deputy Director of the UN Millennium Project

John serves concurrently as associate director at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Previously, he was a research fellow at the Center for... Read More

Gayle Smith

Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Director of the International Rights and Responsibilities Program and Energy Opportunity Program

Gayle served as special assistant to the president and senior director for African Affairs at the National Security Council from 1998-2001, and as... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • Foreign aid sent to Africa undermines national agency and allows outsiders to yield undue influence in the region.
  • Despite substantial investments in African development, quality of life for many African people is still critically low and the money intended to help the most desperate simply isn’t reaching them.
  • Aid money, which is allocated based on the funders’ priorities, impacts national agendas and creates a culture of dependence that stifles real growth and development. 
Against The Motion
  • Assistance programs, such as those that eradicated smallpox and currently fight AIDS, are critical to ensuring the safety and health of many individuals in Africa.
  • Externally funded programs that prioritize African needs and interests create meaningful and lasting change in African social and economic structures.
  • In addition to moral arguments for sending aid to Africa, there is an inherent global security interest in promoting African development and fostering economic, social and political stability in African nations. 

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The Research

The Research

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Celia W. Dugger
August 16, 2007

Aid: Can It Work?

Nicholas D. Kristof
October 5, 2006

The Rwanda Cure

Robert Langreth
October 29, 2007
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