HUMANITARIAN organisation Action Aid has urged authorities in Africa, Zimbabwe included, to be wary of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank austerity and debt policies that have left millions in poverty.
Zimbabwe recently joined the rest of the world at the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Morocco.
According to ActionAid, neoliberal economic models championed by the IMF and World Bank have undermined development and perpetuated poverty.
“The IMF and World Bank’s austerity policies for countries in the Global South are resulting in inequality given their focus on debt servicing at the expense of the provision of public services such as quality health, education care and social security, “ ActionAid Zimbabwe head of programmes and resource mobilisation, Andrew Chikowore, told NewsDay in an interview.
“The IMF and World Bank’s austerity policies for countries in the Global South are resulting in inequality given their focus on debt servicing at the expense of the provision of public services such as quality health, education care and social security.
“The neo-liberal policies of the IMF are detrimental to Africa and have remained irrelevant (they have never worked to say the least). There is a need for the Bretton Woods institutions to reconsider their engagements with African countries and stop the public sector wage bills that are cutting back on public service provision.”
Chikowore said the IMF should consider a systemic solution to the debt crisis beyond the common framework, where countries will collectively renegotiate debts beyond country by country engagements.
ActionAid’s director for Africa and global political and programme strategy, Peter Kamalingin, said the holding of the IMF and World Bank meetings in Africa presents an opportunity for a fundamental re-think of the colonial nature of the institutions.
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“Little has changed since the structural adjustment in the 1980s which led to a ‘lost decade’ for development. The push for austerity has failed to deliver, and there is mounting evidence that it has stifled economic growth and development across Africa,” he said in a Press statement.
Action Aid Ghana country director John Nkaw added: “The time has come for African governments to chart a different path for our future; this must start with pushing back against the colonial model of economic development championed by the IMF and World Bank which is based on austerity, exploitation, and extraction from the Global South.”