Structural adjustment towards sustainable growth and development in Zimbabwe: lessons and conditions
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Sustained economic growth and development in Africa has been a burning issue for a long time. This paper attempts to evaluate the performance of selected African countries in terms of certain conditions for sustained long term economic growth and development. These conditions were identified and discussed by Harmse (1992), Harmse and De Wet (1994) and De Wet (1995), namely: Efficiency in production (brought about by economic liberalisation and trade through outward-oriented policies); economic stability and finally a well- defined and consistent domestic policy mix which includes fiscal and monetary restraint, human development programmes and especially good education, promotion of the manufacturing sector, export promotion and an unyielding policy stance. Several studies on Sub-Saharan Africa argue convincingly that the economic realities of Africa call for special attention to be paid to imbalances in respect of employment, income, nutrition, health and education which all affect the capacity of the human resource (UNECA, 1989; Brinkman, 1995; Olofin, 1995). Action which will correct these imbalances, entails the creation of an environment in which human resources are developed, infrastructure is built and expanded, while institutions as well as technological and entrepreneurial capabilities to promote exports are cultivated. Although it is already contained in the third condition, it would make sense to emphasise the importance of the human and physical environment aspect by identifying it explicitly as a fourth condition for Africa. We will denote these conditions by the acronym ESCE (Efficiency, Stability, Consistency, and Environment). Many African economies experienced a serious socio-economic crisis during the 1980s, caused by both endogenous and exogenous factors (Thisen, 1992:5-6). Increased protection in the rest of the world, the process of synthetic substitution for raw materials and the intensification of bilateralism at the expense of multilateralism saw Africa's terms of trade deteriorating rapidly. This situation was aggravated by political lipheavals, the great African droughts of 1983-1985, 1987-1989 and 1992-1993, escalating debt burdens and declining resource flows (Thisen: 6-8). Endogenously a lack of the necessary production structure, of income generation and distribution processes, together with unsuccessful adjustment policies led to devastatingly negative per capita growth rates in many African countries (Thisen :7). This paper evaluates the adjustment process in Zimbabwe in comparison with selected other African countries according to the aforementioned criteria or conditions.