ONE Responds to Bono vs. Moyo, Round Two

By Edith Jibunoh, Africa Outreach Manager at ONE At ONE, we agree a vigorous public debate is needed on how best to combat extreme poverty in Africa, but your post suggesting ONE is trying to “discredit” and “misrepresent” Ms. Moyo is untrue and not particularly constructive. As anyone who goes to our website site can see, we aren’t trying to discredit her, we are responding, substantively, to her arguments. You suggest we aren’t addressing the merits of her proposals, but the first item we posted on our site was a seven page point-counter-point addressing the merits of her proposals. This document clearly lays out where we disagree with the arguments she is making.

In terms of the emails you refer to, yes, we emailed people in Africa who we work with to see what they thought, as many are involved directly with aid-funded initiatives. Their experience is very relevant in thinking through the impact of Ms. Moyo’s claims. So it wasn’t an attempt to shut a conversation down, but an effort to open one up. And it’s succeeded! We’ve also been in a direct and ongoing conversation with Ms. Moyo, before and after the book’s release. Our concerns are no surprise to her. We agree with your concerns about aid transparency and, as you know, we recently helped launch “publish what you fund”, an aid transparency effort. We share the goal of “asking that aid benefit the poor” (as you write on your website) and we campaign to ensure that it does.

Mr. Easterly, there is another thing we agree on: let’s make this a thoughtful and constructive discussion about the best policy for Africa. In that spirit, it would be good to know if you join Ms. Moyo in her belief that all aid to Africa (with the exception of humanitarian aid following emergencies) should be cut off in five years, and that Africans would not suffer as a result. As just one example, what do you think would happen to the 2 million Africans now on ARVs, funded by aid?

Lest you think we are misrepresenting Ms. Moyo's point of view on what aid should be exempted, see her own words below to Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC News Foreign Correspondent: Is Aid Killing Africa?

Reporter: Philip Williams

Broadcast: 17/03/2009

WILLIAMS: And you're absolutely confident that removing that aid is not going to leave at least some people without food and medicine?

MOYO: I think the ones that will be effected most will probably be the African elite as opposed to the broader population.

WILLIAMS: What will they lose?

MOYO: I think they will lose possibly their bank accounts in Geneva in the worst-case scenario. But, I think beyond that they would also lose the ability to have leisure time and they'll be required to actually go out and start to work hard to find money to support their social programs in Africa.

WILLIAMS: If you cut off aid within 5 years, surely that's going to leave millions of people without the support they are now dependent on - food aid, medical aid - aid that really keeps people alive.

MOYO: I don't believe that's the case. Most Africans do not see any of the aid that you are alluding to. It's.... again, their best case scenario on some projects is 20 cents in the dollar that actually makes it to an African - and that's best case. Effectively, if we continue down this path, we will have many more Africans living in poverty in many... in a few years to come, and that is really the problem - that there are no jobs coming out of an aid model.