In a community forum held on October 28 at Columbia Business School, Dean Glenn Hubbard and a panel of Columbia Business School affiliates discussed the challenging question of how to best use aid to spur growth and development in African nations. The starting point for the discussion was Dean Hubbard's new book, The Aid Trap: Hard Truths About Ending Poverty (co-authored by Professor Bill Duggan, also in attendance). Panelists also highlighted additional ways in which Columbia Business School professors, graduates, and current students are engaging with this complex and challenging topic.
It's a shocking fact: More than one trillion constant dollars have been spent on aid to sub-Saharan Africa, and the region today is poorer than it was in 1960. In fact, thirty years ago, the average income in sub-Saharan Africa was double that of South and East Asia. Today, after decades of aid, it's less than half. "When you see a failure at that level," Dean Glenn Hubbard said to open the discussion, "you have to step back and say, 'Gosh, what could we have done differently?'"