Since 1960 the world has dumped $450 billion in aid on the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Last summer eight wealthy nations pledged to double their assistance to the region by 2010. But despite the push to give, evidence that aid boosts economic development is hard to come by. Between 1975 and 2000, aid to Africa averaged $24 per capita, while aid to South Asia was $5. During those 25 years, per capita GDP in Africa sank, while South Asia's per capita GDP more than doubled.
So where did all those subsidies go? Frequently, they landed in the pockets of government officials and their cronies. Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, chairman of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, reported in July that nearly $400 billion in African aid had been "squandered" between 1960 and 2000.
Graph (not available on-line): Real GDP per Capita (in constant 1995 international dollars)