The Trouble with Aid

About the Author

Jonathan Glennie has worked as a policy analyst in several international development charities. He is currently Christian Aid’s country representative in Colombia. He has played a key role in campaigns in the United Kingdom and around the world, including the Make Poverty History campaign in 2005.

Why Less Could Mean More For Africa

Africa is poor. If we send it money it will be less poor. It seems perfectly logical, doesn’t it? Millions of people in the rich world, moved by images on television and appalled by the miserable conditions endured by so many in other countries, have joined campaigns to persuade their governments to double aid to Africa and help put an end to such shameful inequality.

It seems simple. But it isn’t. In this book, Jonathan Glennie argues that, along with its many benefits, government aid to Africa has often meant more poverty, more hungry people, worse basic services and damage to already precarious democratic institutions. Moreover, calls for more aid are drowning out pressure for action that would really make a difference for Africa’s poor. Rather than doubling aid to Africa, it is time to reduce aid dependency. Through an honest assessment of both the positive and negative consequences of aid, this book will show you why.


‘Readable, reasoned yet radical; Glennie urges governments, campaigners and others to look beyond aid and consider other ways to help impoverished nations and citizens stand on their own feet.’ – Alex Wilks, Director, European Network on Debt and Development

‘Jonathan Glennie’s excellent and immensely readable new book presents a compelling case for those of us who care about Africa not to demand ever more aid, but rather to seek the more fundamental changes in the global economy which could reduce dependency on aid and contribute to the ultimate eradication of poverty.’ – David Woodward, former head of New Global Economy Programme, nef

‘Jonathan Glennie offers a refreshing and insightful departure from the polarized views that have dominated the aid debate. Clearly and succinctly he challenges both aid optimists and aid sceptics with an in-depth analysis of the ‘complex impacts’ of aid on the lives of the poor and the institutions and governments of recipient countries. A must read’ – Samuel Gayi, UNCTAD

‘At last a book that speaks frankly to the fundamentals of aid and how it is delivered. Ignore this book at your peril; this is an issue we cannot relegate to the sidelines of development’ – Charles Mutasa, Director, Africa Forum and Network on Development and Debt (AFRODAD)

‘The Trouble with aid certainly hits the spot. A concise and forthright critique and summary of the aid dilemma, its lack of prohibitive jargon and lofty rhetoric afford it wide and deserved appeal’ – New Agriculturalist