Analysis of the impact of the structural adjustment programme on urban poverty and social work fieldwork in Zambia
Masiye, Gilbert P.C.
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This paper analyses the impact of the Structural Adjustment Programme(s) (SAPs) on urban poor and fieldwork in Zambia. Socio-economic analysts have come to terms with the reality that the decade of the 1980s in most African countries, including Zambia, should be considered as one of considerable economic adjustment which has provided difficult economic environments. In some cases the decade is considered a “lost decade” as any socio-economic progress made in the 1960s and early 1970s had been lost and undermined by the unprecedented economic crisis (Osei-Hwedie and Ndulo, 1989). Despite Africa’s abundant natural resources, African countries continue to suffer appalling socio-economic conditions. It is observed that sixteen of the World’s poorest twenty nations are in Africa. The trend towards economic and social disintegration is the stark outline being presented in the 1990s as most African countries approach their third decade of independence amid signs that even modest achievements of the early post-colonial era have been lost. Levy in Times of Zambia March 1,1993 observed that comparisons with other developing regions, most notably Asia, leave Africa staggering paces behind, despite the continent’s natural resources. Sub-Saharan Africa contributes only 1,5% of the world’s economic output, roughly equivalent to that of Belgium, and accounts for only 1% of world trade. This has occurred over a period when trade has become the motor of development for other developing countries and regions. Hence, to better understand the impact of the structural adjustment programme on Zambia, and in particular the urban poor and social work fieldwork, it is essential to draw attention to certain geographical, historical and political features. In the subsequent section a brief background to these features is given.