Short-Term Western Policies are limiting the Growth of Africa’s Agriculture Industry, says Leading Zambian Economist

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Short-term Western policies, such as farm subsidies, which are part of the US and Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy, are limiting the growth and development of Africa’s agriculture industry.

According to Zambian Economist, Ms Dambisa Moyo, such policies are locking out goods that are produced in places like Africa and South America.

Speaking during a recent exchange with British Author, Mehdi Hasan at the Oxford Union, a debating society in the city of Oxford, England, Ms Moyo argued that short-sighted policies coming from the West have created more impoverished people around the world and fed into issues of political instability.

The exchange was part of Al Jazeera English’s Head to Head segment, where Moyo argued that there are major problems with Western democracy today.

“The notion that democracy is not a problem is mad, it’s crazy,” Moyo said.

Discussing why she believed liberal democracy was under siege, Moyo asserted that today’s populism has its roots in economics, describing how, over the past 30 years, social mobility has declined and income inequality has widened.

Moyo, a former Banker for world-renown financial services group, Goldman Sachs, explained how African nations could emulate China’s model of development. She insisted that despite criticisms against China, the Asian nation’s results speak for themselves.

Moyo commented that over 300 million people have been moved out of poverty in 30 years and that the West should be careful not to point fingers when commenting on the country’s democratic record which was on its own particular path.

Addressing a question on the benefits of China’s economic model, Moyo noted how Chinese politicians “don’t need to seduce today’s voter in order to remain in political office” in comparison to the US, where there is a mismatch between long-term economic challenges and short-termism in the political system.

Economist Dambisa Moyo first made waves with her book Dead Aid, which argued that rather than alleviating poverty in Africa, aid was actually preserving it.

“We do want to be able to hold our governments accountable but we can’t do that if actually, Oxfam is going to solve the healthcare problem, somebody else is going to solve education. How are we able to hold our governments accountable from a public policy stance if they are not the ones who are delivering these outcomes?” she elaborated.

The best-selling author, however, accepted that there have been significant wins across Africa, adding that the notion that those are because of aid…is wrong.

Moyo pointed out that China has played a hugely significant role on the continent.

“We’ve had China come in, there have been significant investment…we’re able to trade with the Chinese, for better or for worse,” she said.

Mehdi Hasan was joined in the discussion by a panel of experts: Ann Pettifor, an Economist and Author of The Production of Money; Jason Hickel, an Anthropologist at the University of London and Author of The Divide: A brief Guide to global inequality and its solutions; and Jamie Whyte, research director at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).


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