Cover Image
close this bookSustaining the Future: Economic, Social, and Environmental Change in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNU, 1996, 365 pages)
close this folderPart 1: Economy and society: development issues
close this folderUrbanization and industrialization: What future for Sub-Saharan Africa?
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe continuing rapid rate and scale of urbanization
View the documentThe urban environment
View the documentThe limitations of industrialization
View the documentThe impact of structural adjustment
View the documentSub-Saharan Africa as the global periphery
View the documentImplications for urbanization and industrialization
View the documentReferences

The impact of structural adjustment

The role of structural adjustment and associated policies deserves specific attention. Their impact across the continent has been profound, often exacerbating macroeconomic conditions, at least in the short to medium term, and having the most severe consequences for the poorest countries, the most powerless groups (notably the poor and female-headed households), and the environment, which is now subject to even more intense exploitation pressures. Many infrastructural, social, and related programmes that were vital to the urban (and rural) poor have been savagely cut or abolished, while the loss of subsidies and rapid decline in purchasing power of low- and most middle-income earners have hit people hard (see Save the Children Fund/Overseas Development Institute 1988; Onimode 1988, 1989; South Commission 1990; O'Connor 1991; Cornia et al. 1992; Stewart et al. 1992; Woodward 1992). Let me add at once that I do not deny the need for radical economic restructuring and political change; nor is it realistic to blame Sub-Saharan Africa's predicament exclusively on external forces. Africa undoubtedly bears significant responsibility too. My problem is far more with the treatment and its wider consequences than with the diagnosis.