Skip to main content

Dambisa Moyo @ Cass Business School

I've briefly stepped inside another world. I'm in the Cass Business School, part of the City University, London. Walking through the revolving doors and into a glass palace, I'm catching a glimpse of the life in the kind of university campus I could have attended had I opted for business and commerce over the arts.

This aside, the purpose of my visit is to see Dambisa Moyo give a lecture for the Adam Smith Institute. Moyo is a leading light and a refreshing voice in the world of economic theory whose career as a writer blossomed following the publication of Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is Another Way for Africa - a book that strikes a major chord with my own relationship with projects in Africa and assists me greatly in my new role co-ordinating aspects of Global Citizenship into my college's curriculum.

I get to a seat, instinctively at the back of the lecture hall, where I have a decent vantage point of the whole room.

As the time approaches 6.30pm, the hall fills up slowly with a true cross-section of modern life - bankers, students, interested others; white, black, Chinese, South-East Asian. I guess this best demonstrates the broad appeal and 'fanbase' that Moyo has created for herself.

This talk focuses primarily on Moyo's new book, How The West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly and the Stark Choices Ahead, but refreshingly still relates a lot of its content to both Dead Aid and to Moyo's homeland of Zambia. She manages to balance perfectly a combination of common sense, a passionate voice, convincing arguments, statistics and theory during her lecture without ever alienating her audience. It is safe to say that, even with my lack of business acumen or knowledge of Economic theory - not knowing what FDI meant for example - I was still able to follow the line of discussion.

Over the course of the talk and the ensuing discussion, Moyo made some very good points. Borrowing from a former US General, she said that in economics, like war, we need to "start from where we are, not where we want to be," before moving on to say that governments, assisted by short electoral terms, are too quick to find "short-term tactical fixes" to win votes and are not looking at the "big picture." She went on to posit that incentives should be used to get people to do what the economy requires of them, for example, paying people to take maths and science courses - two areas that would assist an economy in a country like the UK.

I must admit, as the lecture and discussion reached its conclusion, I not only felt convinced by the weight of Moyo's arguments, but also that I had learned so much more about Economics.

After the talk had finished, I headed to the lobby to withdraw the money to buy a copy of How the West Was Lost only to find the cash machine not working. So, along with another listener, a young woman called Tsongana from Zimbabwe who similarly lacked any knowledge of economics but was equally convinced by what she had heard, I trekked off to find money and returned relieved to find Moyo still on hand to sign my copy of the book.

I would like to thank the Adam Smith Institute for organising this free event, the Cass Business School for hosting it and, of course, Dambisa Moyo for her engaging talk and for signing my copy of the text.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

From a Crooked Rib by Nuruddin Farah

Cover image. © Penguin Books. I stumbled across Nuruddin Farah’s novels when searching for something written by a Somali author. Perhaps due to the conflict that has raged for years in Somalia, it is very difficult to find much from Somali writers published in English. From a Crooked Rib was published in 1970 and tells the story of Ebla, a young, orphaned, illiterate nomadic girl, who runs away from her encampment. She takes the decision to leave upon learning of her Grandfather’s intention to marry her off to an older man within their Jes (a group of families living in an encampment together). She firstly escapes to a town, Belet Amin, where she finds her cousin and his pregnant wife. She also finds a guide and confidante in a character known only as the widow. Things seem settled until, yet again, Ebla finds her freedom compromised by a male character – this time her cousin, whose wife and child Ebla has been nursing. In her haste she leaves Belet Amin with the w

The Bakiga Window: Taufiq Islamic Primary School: Part II

In a manner so typically Ugandan, Yasim approaches silently and politely asks whether he can have a word with me – it is one of those ironies that a word has to be had in order to have a word with someone. Irony aside, he has heard back from the Sheikh and arranged an appointment for me. It is Wednesday 20 th April and once more I find myself en route to Taufiq Islamic Primary School. The morning started in the usual way: waking up sleepy students, ensuring that everyone had 'taken' breakfast and had a supply of bottled water, and then walking with the group down the hill, into the town. At the foot of the hill, the group scattered into many fragments, with everyone off in search of their own adventures. I head straight on, past the noise of the metal workers, over to Taufiq. After having had to beat a hasty retreat last week , I was unsure of who would be in my reception committee. Teacher Bright was the first to greet me, before taking me inside to m

Beach Huts, Southwold, Suffolk

Sleeping beach huts on Southwold Beach, Suffolk. Safely back from my annual visit to Rotterdam, my parents invited me to spend a few days with them in a small holiday cottage in Southwold, Suffolk. Give or take driving through Newmarket a few years back when studying at Anglia Ruskin University, I'd never really seen much of the county. Southwold itself is a beautiful seaside resort which happens to be the home of Adnams , a well known brewery, which means that for a small place there are a healthy number of pubs - suddenly Dad's choice of location made sense . On the early afternoon of Wednesday 20th February  I took a walk to the Harbour Inn to meet my parents for lunch. The pub was just under two miles away from Grace Cottage , where we were staying. This gave me the opportunity to take some pictures of the sea. On our way towards the see we also spotted  Georgie Glen  from Waterloo Road humming happily to herself on the High Street. Southwold is lovely,