Strive Masiyiwa on Dead Aid

Strive Masiyiwa is chairman and founder of Econet Group, as well as one of Time Magazine’s most influential people in 2002. He offers the following response to Dambisa Moyo’s new book “Dead Aid.” You can read more on this Hot Topic here.

There was a time when as a businessman, I used to think of donor AID in much the same way as Ms. Moyo. For me I thought all we needed to solve the problems in Africa was to teach people to be entrepreneurs; to end corruption and waste by governments; get better leadership, and so forth. And yes I saw aid as part of the problem. Then one day about 20 years ago, I attended a funeral of an employee who had died of HIV/AIDS. He left behind a dying wife, and three little children. I was forced to look after those children because there was no one else to help. Within a matter of months, I had over 40 children in my care through similar circumstances! I soon realized that we had a disaster on our hands, and that I had to do something, which went beyond orphans of my own employees. This is when my wife and I set up a foundation we call the Capernaum Trust, through which we provide assistance to more than 26,000 orphans.

Through my involvement with this foundation, which is funded entirely by us, as Africans, I have also come into contact with many donor organizations from outside Africa, and their work. I have worked with them on all types of programs to help the poor and most vulnerable right across Africa. I have seen many good programs, and I have also seen many bad ones, and there is no doubt that there are many things that can be done to improve some of these programs. But, let me say this, quite categorically, the biggest disaster you can create is to end donor aid in Africa, until you have an alternative, that is better, and has been tested on the ground.

As for the views that I held before I got INVOLVED, at a personal level, it was not that they were wrong, it is just that INVOLVEMENT, helps you to get a better perspective on reality. And nothing is ever that simple.

-Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman and Founder: Econet Group


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