Evaluating the Socio Economic Impact of the Structural Adjustment Program

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Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
1.0 Background

In the past two decades, almost all Sub-Saharan African (SSA) economies have experienced chronic economic crises which have had a severe impact on their growth performance, poverty profile and income distribution which in turn undermined economic development. These hardships can be traced back to the global crises of the early 1980s, inadequate financing due to disruption in local production coupled with deficiencies in national policy-making and most importantly weaknesses in the economic structure of these countries. These have left most SSA countries with acute balance of payments (BOP) disequilibria and an inability to service their debts to foreign bodies. In an effort to tackle the economic crises and to stimulate economic recovery, most African countries had to adjust and re-structure their economies. According to Dasgupta (1998), structural adjustment was seen as a fact of life. Thus in the 1980s, most African countries initiated economic policies which were sponsored by the World Bank and supplemented by the International Monetary Fund(IMF) in the form of stabilisation and structural adjustment programmes (SAP). Between June 1986 and July 1987 alone twenty one SSA countries went through World Bank/IMF SAP.

Generally, SAPs entail policies designed by the world Bank/IMF aimed at improving the socioeconomic conditions of implementing nations by restoring economic stability and achieving long term growth through addressing structural weakness, and disequilibria in among others government budgets and external sector. More precisely, they involve the adoption and implementation of policies such as currency devaluation, trade liberalization, privatization, and removal of subsidies etc. which are perceived as means of reversing the pervasive social and economic problems of developing nations.

There has been a considerable amount of literature on the effects of SAP measures on less developed countries (LDCs)...
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