Some of the things I say in this book are controversial. I have already had to field angry phone calls from colleagues in the aid industry who disagree with my arguments. It is always good, therefore, to get strong endorsements for the book.

Samuel Gayi, the leader of the team that writes UNCTAD’s annual (and highly respected) Economic Development in Africa report, thinks it is a “must-read”:

The Trouble With Aid: Why Less Could Mean More For Africa highlights the “central paradox of aid.” The book presents a challenge to both aid optimists and aid sceptics through an in-depth and perceptive analysis of the multidimensional and "complex impacts" of aid, and associated policy conditions, on the lives of the poor, institutions, and government policies of recipient countries.

“Jonathan Glennie offers a refreshing and insightful departure from the polarized views that have dominated the aid debate. He rightly points out that aid could be beneficial as well as harmful to its recipients; and "…the act of aid giving in itself undermines both state capacity and accountability", although this need not necessarily be the case and depends on how aid is used and the conditions attached to it.

“The message of the book is particularly timely as it exhorts governments to use aid efficiently and effectively for it to make a real difference to the lives of poor people at a time when donors are struggling to meet their own aid targets. The call for enhanced domestic financial resource mobilization ("minimizing outflows and maximizing domestic resources") is critical if recipient governments are to recapture their policy space that has been ceded out to donors and the multilateral financial institutions in a lop-sided aid recipient-donor relationship.

“The book is well-structured, and written in a clear, fluid, succinct, and engaging language that enthrals the reader to the end. It is a must-read not only for students of Development Studies/Economics, but also for development experts, politicians and policy makers in recipient and donor countries as it brings critical insights to even some old perspectives.”

David Woodward, the former head of New Global Economy Programme at the New Economics Foundation in London (nef) is another respected aid economist who found the book useful:

"Jonathan Glennie's excellent and immensely readable new book presents a compelling case for those of us who care about Africa not to demand ever more aid, but rather to seek the more fundamental changes in the global economy which could reduce dependency on aid and contribute to the ultimate eradication of poverty."

Charles Mutasa is the Director of the African Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD), the largest grouping of African civil society organisations working on issues of aid and debt. He thinks the book is timely:

"At last a book on Aid by a colleague from the North that speaks frankly to the fundamentals of aid and how it is delivered. What Jonathan has given us is not just his perspectives but the new insights into the constraints on development in the Third World. The book cannot be ignored, those who ignore it, do it at their peril. This is an issue we cannot relegate to the archives or the sidelines of development."

Finally, Alex Wilkes also liked the book. Alex is the head of Eurodad, the European Network on Debt and Development. Like Afrodad it is a network of all the most important European NGOs working on aid - over 54 in 17 countries. He says:

“A very informative read for anyone interested in the future of development policy. Glennie challenges some widespread assumptions about development aid and broadens the policy agenda for campaigners. A well argued account of aid's problems and potentials and the importance of other policy agendas if we are serious about helping Africa. Readable, reasoned yet radical; Glennie urges governments, campaigners and others to look beyond aid and consider other ways to help impoverished nations and citizens stand on their own feet.”

I hope you like it too. It is published by Zed Books as part of its African Arguments series and comes out on 4 November 2008.

posted by Jonathan Glennie @ 15:55

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