Dambisa Moyo insists she is a fan of China because it is a country that is prepared to do business with Africa and not regard it – like many in the West – as an aid case.
The internationally-renowned Zambian-born author and economist believes the world’s second largest economy is transforming her continent.
“I am a big Sinophile because I recognize we need China’s investment and we need jobs and trade and we need something to happen,” she says. “Americans are not prepared to write big checks to drive trade and job creation in Africa anymore.”
Moyo, 43, was speaking in the relative seclusion of the 19th floor business lounge of the Westin Cape Town Hotel after being almost mobbed following her keynote presentation at the 20th annual African Mining Indaba conference in February. During our interview, even the son of the Zambian president came to pay his respects.
In the foreword to her bestselling book, Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working And How There is Another Way for Africa, a damning indictment of Western aid policy to Africa, leading historian Niall Ferguson wrote we could do with “a lot more Moyo, and a lot less Bono”, although the academic has pop star appeal herself.
“Oh, please,” she says when I point this out. “It is funny because 80 percent of the people who approach me are government officials who want me to come and give a talk, often about nothing. I prefer to do business things like this that set a new spin on the continent.”
Moyo might have forthright views but in private is engaging, often joking and breaking into laughter.
She is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most well-known academics (despite lacking a permanent berth) and divides her time between homes in New York, London and in Lusaka.