“Oh! It ended up arriving to the Greeks too.” Number of forties originating in Africa Saharan reacted well following the recent quarrels between Greece and its creditors. The continuing saga between Athens and the creditor group led by the International Monetary Fund International (IMF) and European Union (EU) has brutally reminded them the earliest structural adjustment programs (SAPs) imposed by the Bretton Woods institutions in the 1980s in several African countries.
Like today in Greece, the IMF and the World Bank had in effect imposed the knife to her throat, sub-Saharan Africa, economic reforms geared exclusively towards reducing public expenditure, including through cuts in sectors essential social. Behind this display of concern for controlling state spending, pointing, as in Greece today, the only thing that matters for SSA creditors provide debt service.
Clearly, it was for each state to be able to continue to repay the loans, whether this should go through the sacrifice of the future of youth or the delay in development . Thus, the implementation of the SAP had led some African countries such as Mali , the Niger or Senegal , toclose the public schools boarding a vengeance. This measure, combined with the reduction in the number of scholarships granted to students, was thrown out of school and university circuit generations of Africans.
Other countries on the continent had, meanwhile, been forced to freeze recruitment in the public service. In Africa, the number of state agents can certainly have proved totally irrational as evidenced by the case of Congo – Brazzaville which counted in 2015 some 150 000 employees for 4.7 million while Senegal populated nearly 15 million only had “only” 108,000 agents. However, even such aberrations can not justify the opposition of the IMF and the World Bank in physician recruitment in countries that were a thousand miles to reach the ratio set by the World Health Organization of a doctor 10 000 inhabitants.
With the same rigidity in Greece today, creditors were also imposed on other African states all-out privatization of company s public who were finally fallen into the hands of large western groups.
As Greece now resigned to selling some of its islands, the Africans had then had to dispose of “jewelry family ” under pressure from the Bretton Woods institutions. The Ivorians, for example, still keep in memory the acquisition of the Ivorian Electricity Company by the French group Bouygues while Nigerians always regret the privatization of the Nigerian Society of textiles (Nitex) and pretty cloths that were outbeauty the Nigerian.
The resilience of the African secret
The structural adjustment policies had led here and there to student riots and strikes of civil servants, sometimes very harsh. In Mali and Niger, for example, these social movements have resulted in 1990 and 1991 on the democratic demands that forced the powers that be toconcede a multiparty system.
A y look closely, the attitude of the citizens of African countries that have suffered the SAP slice strongly with what is happening today in Greece. Under the weight of the measures imposed by the IMF, the EU Commission and other creditors, many couples have been broken in the country, tenants were kicked out, because they could not pay their rent. In despair, retirees have tried to end their lives. Elderly people are also found in great difficulty after the drastic cuts in the budgets of social welfare services.
Several factors have helped people affected by PAS develop more resilience to the diktat of creditors. There is first the context social Africa that cushions the shock of transition from extreme abundance to total destitution. We talk more readily legend around the Nigerian Aliko Dangote, past peddler Kano great megalopolis north of the country, the richest businessman in Africa. On the mainland, there are people who made the reverse journey from multimillionaire status in CFA or naira to indigent. Without this leading to suicide or family drama. The strong family or clan solidarity was also a factor of resilience in the test imposed by the Bretton Woods institutions.
In Africa, the salary of a civil servant feeds ten people, not only members of his family ” nuclear ” (wife and children). Result, the day the remuneration of the agent is not paid “in arrears”, the rest of the clan lance “system D” to secure food and shelter. This is what has enabled some countries to pass through periods of three, six or nine months’ salary arrears. Something totally unthinkable in Athens.Similarly, there is in most African countries a sort of gentleman’s agreement between the owner and the tenant who benefits generously to it. Indeed, unlike the West, in most African countries the rent is paid at the end of the month. Not the first of the month. Finally, there is the organization of regular national popular protests that helped African countries to cross “with dignity” the harsh suffering of structural adjustment policies. Beyond their festive, championships or the traditional wrestling competitions operate in Niger and Senegal as social safety valves. It is the same for competitions soccer in Algeria , in Tunisia or Egypt and major music concerts in Congo – Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Without rancor or bitterness
Although he made from the outset, the object virulent criticism of some economists, the SAP was imposed in different versions to African countries. Some of them have therefore accepted without flinching of SAP I, II and even III. Against all odds, the most severe charges against its economic policies promoted by the IMF and World Bank, with the sole objective as in Greece to repay the debt, had finally come, not countries, but international institutions such as the Organization World health (WHO), the UN Conference on trade and development (UNCTAD), the UN Programme against (UNDP) or the United Nations educational, Scientific and culture (Unesco).
It was only later on that the IMF and the World Bank have made their mea culpa, but no promise of compensation for harm NOT. Nobody takes their rigor on the continent. As if nothing had happened, the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and the President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim are each entitled to a head of state welcome during their African stay. After the red carpet at the foot of the plane that carries, Ms. Lagarde and Mr. Kim Yong review the folk dance groups before the passage through the VIP lounge. They then entitled to a police escort to arrive at the scheduled hearing immediately with the president of the host country. The public radio and television naturally open their newspapers with the visit of the utmost importance. It is not certain that the Greeks in the near future the same indulgence towards Lagarde or the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
Seidik Abba, journalist and writer, author of Niger against the AIDS : strengths and weaknesses of the national strategy, ed. L’Harmattan, 2009.
Source: The Monde.fr