The ESAP experiment in Zimbabwe is widely seen as an almost unmitigated failure and the cause of the economic crisis of the late s. An Introduction to ESAP: Zimbabwe By David Coltart. 31st January Danish Volunteer Service Development Workers Meeting. ESAP’S FABLES II. BY RICHARD SAUNDERS. Richard Saunders is SAR’s Zimbabwe correspondent. Zimbabwe’s Economic Structural Adjustment Programme.

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‘ESAP was never ideal for Zim’

Although social indicators improved, particularly in health and education, per capita income stagnated. Richard notes that trade liberalization provides free access to capital goods and imported raw materials, it also opens the domestic market to competition from imported goods which place severe strains on local companies were espa a negative impact of liberalization. After the Zanu government allowed white farming, industry and mining to continue, while using the state to improve zimbbawe and invest heavily in health and education.

ih It is important to remember, however, that structural adjustment only became in vogue in ; prior to that it was a phrase unknown in Zimbabwe. It relied on beneficiaries to apply for benefits, and the complicated and costly application process effectively excluded many of the poorest people, who had little access to government information. In fact per-capita growth was low but positive over the decade, despite two droughts.

Brett is the visiting professor in political studies at Wits University. Following the deregulation of cotton Company of Zimbabwe Ltd, new players entered the market increasing competition much to the benefit of cotton farmers. In the event, there was a lack of political transformation to accompany the economic reforms of the s.

‘ESAP was never ideal for Zim’ | Celebrating Being Zimbabwean

Original articles on important current themes in sub-Saharan Africa. When ESAP was first introduced, the government claimed it zijbabwe the only alternative to continued production bottlenecks, stagnant local demand and a worsening unemployment problem that threatened to become politically troublesome.


Policy failures can be induced by three distinct factors — exogenous forces that throw the programme off course, a failure to implement the policies as planned, and basic flaws in the policies themselves. All of this is, of course, a short term view and the reform programme must be given some time to run before we can adequately assess whether or not exap is going to work.

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JavaScript is disabled for your browser. Small scale hammer mills employed 7 permanent workers plus additional 3 causal workers.

What are the effects of ESAP in the Zimbabwean context | Emmanuel R Marabuka –

Despite all the rhetoric that structural adjustment is a home-grown programme, the fact of the matter is that it is a concoction developed by the International Monetary Fund and organisations like the World Bank. We are seeing a drift from state ownership or state control to African styled privatisation in which the key players are well connected men and women not too far from the seats of power.

Real incomes for those still in the formal sector dropped sharply during ESAP and they continue to fallundermined by persistently high inflation and slow growth in most wage packets.

ESAP caused high unemployment rate because of its economic reforms. The bottom line, however, is that for it to work Governments must relinquish a large amount of control over the economy so that the private sector can do the work.

Origins of the Zimbabwe crisis

Our Government is fully aware of this fact and like any Government is reluctant to relinquish control. A “bread boycott” by township consumers lasted more than two weeks, and saw running street battles between riot police, and women and youth. In essence, ESAP is a top-down economic strategy which is designed to resuscitate an economy using massive doses of foreign exchange acquired mostly through loans and hugely increased exports.

Yet fees remained in place, largely at the insistence of ESAP policy makers. We need to loosen up controls of foreign exchange, we need to loosen up on restrictive business practices which hinder investment and economic growth, and most of all we need an overall reduction in the amount of control that the Government exercises in all sectors of our society.


Zimbabwe’s experience highlights the inherent difficulties in targeting social programs to reach the poor. The program’s fee support system was complex, involving different eligibility criteria and arbitrary income thresholds. Secondly, subsidised prices and credit allowed businesses to survive without addressing inefficiencies.

The climate of uncertainty that ensued delayed the supply response and contributed to a worsening of living conditions for the poor. Meanwhile, accounts from rural clinics and hospitals have urgently noted the near collapse fsap health care services under the weight of cutbacks and imposed self-reliance. But this still fell far short of the actual basic need, and did not begin to address additional heavy school attendance expenses including school levies, materials, uniforms and other costly items.

The resulting increases in inequality, exclusion and disaffection in urban and rural areas intensified opposition to Zanu-PF and probably led to the disastrous populist measures that were adopted after The impact of cost recovery measures in education was almost immediate as parents simply withdrew children from school or postponed sending them to school.

Implementation and outcome A severe drought in left Zimbabwe in its worst recession since independence.

Social dimensions The program’s social dimensions of adjustment SDA component zimbabw to address the transitional hardships brought on by the proposed civil service downsizing, the removal of maize meal subsidy to poor urban consumers, and the reinforcement or introduction of health and education fees.