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African voices on structural adjustment: a companion to 'Our continent, our future'

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The publication of a two-volume evaluation study on "Adjustment in Africa" by the World Bank in 1994 sparked major controversies and re-ignited the debate about the direction of Africa’s development. For most African scholars, who live in and study these economies, the World Bank reports were yet another major disjuncture between reality and dogma. This book is a response to the need for critical appraisal of the structural adjustment program (SAP) as a development strategy. The failure of SAP, the simplistic diagnosis and tendentious performance evaluation of the 1994 report, and what seems to be a changed African environment that is more permissive of alternative viewpoints, has convinced Africans to re-enter the debate. There is a growing call for "local ownership" of adjustment and for Africans to assume the leading role in defining the continent’s future. About thirty studies were commissioned—within the broader goal of Africa reclaiming the initiative and providing a framework for thinking itself out of the current economic crisis—to analyze the various policies under SAP from the perspective of development, understood mainly as involving economic growth, structural change, and the elimination of poverty. The results of the studies were presented at two research workshops in Abidjan in 1996. This book includes selected papers from the workshop on issues, which have been given very little attention in the SAP framework and its evaluation studies, or those that have generated the most controversy: * Critical evaluation of the model and methodologies for performance evaluation under SAP * Comparative development experiences * Trade liberalization and regional integration * SAP, technology and industrialization in Africa * Poverty under adjustment * Reforms, external and domestic factors and implications for agriculture and rural development * Financial sector reforms and resource mobilization

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