Dambisa Moyo
Visionaries - April 24, 2022

The Humbling Profile of Dambisa Moyo, Zambia’s Pre-eminent Thinker

Dambisa Moyo is a prolific writer who has authored four New York Times best-selling books and has been an influential and controversial voice on macroeconomics globally.

She’s described as a pre-eminent thinker for her unique perspectives on global financial matters and ability to turn economic insight into investible ideas. Moyo, 53, advises global leaders on strategic investment and public policy issues.

In her works, she analysed the link between emerging countries and the global economy, which have been widely published in major financial magazines.

In 2009, Time magazine named Moyo one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Paul Wolfowitz, former president of the World Bank, also described her as part of a generation of Africans who embraced the private sector and modern finance to promote economic progress.

Early life and education

Dambisa Moyo was born in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1969 and spent part of her youth in the United States while her father completed his post-graduate studies.

Later, they returned to Zambia, where her mother became the chairperson of a state-owned bank while her father followed a career in academics and public administration.

She attended the University of Zambia, where she studied chemistry and later moved to the United States in 1991 when she received a scholarship at the American University in Washington, D.C.

Moyo graduated from American University with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and a Master of Business Administration in finance in 1993.

In 1997, she also graduated from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government with a Master of Public Administration (MBA). 

In 2002, she received her Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in economics at St Antony’s College, Oxford University. Her PhD research was on savings rates in poor nations, while her Oxford studies were in macroeconomics.

Career achievement

After graduating from the American University, Dambisa Moyo worked for the World Bank from 1993 to 1995. Moyo worked as a consultant for the World Bank’s Europe, Central Asia, and Africa departments and co-authored the World Development Report every year.

In 2001, she worked with Goldman Sachs as a research economist and strategist after earning her MPA and PhD at Harvard and Oxford. She worked in debt capital markets, hedge fund coverage, and global macroeconomics until 2008.

During her time in the company, she helped developing nations with bond issuance on the international market. She also served as the Director of Sub-Saharan Africa Economic Research and Strategy.

After leaving Goldman Sachs in 2008, she became part of the board of directors of major brewer SABMiller in 2009. Moyo was the chairman of the company’s Corporate Accountability and Risk Assurance Committee (CARAC).

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She supervised all of the company’s corporate accountability responsibilities, including sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, corporate social investment, and ethical business practices.

In 2010, she joined Barclays Bank’s board of directors and served on three board committees. She served on the Audit Committee, the Conduct, Operational, and Reputational Risk Committee, and the Financial Risk Committee.

In 2011, Moyo also joined the board of directors of Barrick Gold, an international mining business. She was a member of the Audit Committee, Corporate Governance and Nomination Committee, and Corporate Responsibility Committee of the board of directors. 

She joined the board of directors of Seagate Technology, a data storage firm, in 2015. There, she was a member of the Audit and Finance Committees of the board.

She also joined the Chevron Corporation board of directors in 2016 and served on the Audit Committee.

Dambisa Moyo was an ex-member of the Room to Read board of directors. Also, in 2018, she became a member of the board of 3M Company. She is a member of the Audit Committee and the Nominations and Governance Committee of the board of directors.

Writing and public speaking

Much of her work focuses on the complex interrelationships between underdeveloped African governments, developing economies like China, and established rich cultures like the United States.

In 2009, she published her first book, “Dead Aid: Why Aid Isn’t Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa.”

The book was a bestseller in the New York Times. This earned her the Young Global Leader award by the World Economic Forum. She was also named one of the Time 100 and one of Oprah Winfrey’s “20 amazing visionaries” in 2009.

In 2011, she authored her second book, “How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly And the Stark Choices That Lie Ahead”. It was also a New York Times bestseller.

In 2012, she published the third, “Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What It Means for the World”. This was also a New York Times bestseller.

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