Here is an excellent summary of the aid-growth debate, by Christian Bjørnskov. The conclusion:
The depressing conclusion of more than 40 years of research is therefore that although some types of aid work under some types of conditions, it does not do what is was intended to do: help poor countries grow faster and lift people out of poverty. At best, our financial aid to poor countries can help them overcome disasters in the same way as US aid helped Europe find its footing again after World War II.
I agree with this conclusion - except I don't find the conclusion depressing: Knowing that aid does not help poor countries grow faster is useful information, and it should make it easier to focus on things that matter more.
btw, don't miss the comments - Christian actually gets the last word (so far at least...) by asking the following:
I don't think any of us would believe research into the effects of drugs if the researchers were paid by the pharma industry. Then why do so many people put so much faith in research [on the effects of aid] done by people paid by the donor community?