Not long ago, the African country Malawi was a donor darling. Being dirt poor and ravaged by AIDS, it was needy; with just 17 million inhabitants, a dollop of aid might visibly improve it. Better still, it was more-or-less democratic, and its leader, Joyce Banda, was welcome at Westminster and the White House. In 2012, Western countries showered $1.17 billion on it, and foreign aid accounted for 28 percent of gross national income.
The following year, corrupt officials, businessmen and politicians pinched at least $30 million from the Malawian treasury. A bureaucrat investigating the thefts was shot three times. (He survived, somehow.) Germany said it would help pay for an investigation; later, burglars raided the home of a German official and stole documents relating to the scandal. Malawi is no longer a donor darling.